ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Keep Your Cool with Standards during Stress Awareness Month

New York, Apr 24, 2014

Stress is a fact of modern life. According to a 2009 study by the American Psychological Association, nearly 70% of employees suffer from stress related to their job and more than half report stress resulting from family responsibilities. In order to educate the general public on stress-related topics and effective coping mechanisms, the Health Resource Network sponsors the annual celebration of Stress Awareness Month each April. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and its Federation of members are proud to support the development of standards related to popular stress-relieving activities.

Chronic stress can have negative effects on your health, upping the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and other serious illnesses. To address these dangers, one of the most effective ways to reduce stress and safeguard your cardiovascular health is regular aerobic exercise like cycling. An International Standard from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) provides important guidance related to the tires and rims used by a wide array of different bicycles. The standard, ISO 5775-1:1997, Bicycle tyres and rims -- Part 1: Tyre designations and dimensions, was developed by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 31, Tyres, rims and valves, Subcommittee (SC) 10, Cycle, moped, motorcycle tyres and rims. The U.S. is deeply involved in ISO work in this area, with ANSI holding the secretariat of ISO TC 31 and Dale Freygang of the U.S. serving as the committee’s chair. ANSI member the Tire & Rim Association Inc. serves as the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to ISO TC 31 and SC 10.

While aerobic exercise can be effective in relieving stress, other forms of exercise can also play a role in producing a calm, soothed mental state. For example, yoga practitioners commonly execute a series of poses and stretches in conjunction with measured breathing and meditation, helping to improve fitness and reduce stress. This practice is often carried out on a specialized yoga mat made from materials like plastic, latex, or treated PVC. ASTM D7083-04(2010)e1, Standard Practice for Determination of Monomeric Plasticizers in Poly (Vinyl Chloride) (PVC) by Gas Chromatography, provides guidance regarding the separation and identification of monomeric plasticizers; plasticizers are chemicals that can be used to alter the texture of PVC, which is often brittle in its original state. The standard was developed by ANSI member and audited designator ASTM International.

For many people, massage is the best way to recover from a stress-filled day. While hiring a licensed massage therapist is a popular option, it is also possible to get many of the same benefits with a chair or handheld massager. UL 1647-2012a, Standard for Safety for Motor-Operated Massage and Exercise Machines, sets down safety guidelines for these devices. The standard was developed by UL (Underwriters Laboratories Inc.), an ANSI member and audited designator.

Listening to music, particularly classical pieces, has been shown to have a calming effect on the body. If you want to de-stress by taking in a classical concert, there’s an American National Standard from ANSI-accredited standards developer and organizational member PLASA, formerly known as the Entertainment Services and Technology Association, that is ready to lend a hand. ANSI E1.8-2012, American National Standard E1.8 - 2012 Entertainment Technology-Loudspeaker Enclosures Intended for Overhead Suspension-Classification, Manufacture and Structural Testing, provides structural requirements that help concert organizers to keep these performances safe for their audiences.

Throughout Stress Awareness Month and the rest of the year, standards play an important role in supporting activities and technologies that relieve stress and improve mental and physical health.

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