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Voluntary Standards Cover the Spectrum: From Lead Detection to Office Chairs

New York, Jan 17, 2003

In an effort to communicate the vital role that standards play in daily life, ANSI Online will publish, on an ongoing basis, a series of snapshots of the diverse standards initiatives undertaken in the global and national standards arena, many of which are performed by ANSI members and ANSI-accredited standards developers. Two of the latest selections follow:

Lead Hazard Detection and Reduction

The danger that lead exposure poses to young children is increasingly well known among parents and professionals in a variety of fields. ANSI member and accredited standards developer ASTM International has been contributing to the body of knowledge about lead with several standards that set out important guidelines for the detection and elimination of lead threats.

ANSI/ASTM E2252-02, Standard Practice for Selection of Lead Hazard Reduction Methods for Identified Risks in Residential Housing or Child Occupied Facilities, describes the various methods available for controlling lead hazards that have been identified in risk assessments. It is a companion to standards that describe risk detection methods, such as ANSI/ASTM E2115-00, Standard Guide for Conducting Lead Hazard Assessments of Residential Housing and Other Properties Frequented by Children, which describes how to conduct, document and report findings of a lead hazard assessment. Also available is ANSI/ASTM E2052-99, Standard Guide for Evaluation, Management and Control of Lead Hazards in Facilities, which is meant to guide property owners and managers “in developing and implementing a lead hazard management program.”

Additional information on lead poisoning in young children can be obtained by visiting the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website or calling the National Lead Information Clearinghouse at 1.800.424.LEAD.

Office Chairs

It is something that most people take for granted--the fact that when you deflate into your office chair after a harried morning commute, it will not suddenly burst into pieces beneath you. When you lean your elbow onto your arm rest, it will not snap under your weight. When you glide over to your ringing phone, a wheel will not spin off your chair’s base. These are not things, however, that the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association (BIFMA) takes for granted. On the contrary, a newly revised BIFMA standard ensures the good condition of office chairs across North America.

ANSI/BIFMA X5.1-2002, General-Purpose Office Chairs – Tests, describes a number of laboratory tests that can be used to evaluate the safety, durability and structural integrity of various styles of office chairs. It also describes the minimum criteria that a chair must meet to pass the tests. X5.1 was last revised in 1993, so the latest version, according to BIFMA Technical Services Manager Richard Driscoll, was a long time in the making. The new revision includes clearer diagrams and new tests, Driscoll said, specifically mentioning one that addresses front stability. “Some of the new test methods reflect our work with Europeans on creating international standards,” said Mr. Driscoll, who also related that X5.1 is currently the prevailing office chair standard throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

This "standards snapshot" was made possible by the steady stream of press information disseminated by standards developing organizations to keep the ANSI Federation abreast of their achievements. As the Institute receives news of published voluntary standards and voluntary standards initiatives with broad appeal and impact, similar articles will be posted to the ANSI Online News page. Please continue to forward your updates to the Communications and Public Relations department at (f) 212.398.0023 or (e) For additional information on the wide array of standards applications, see the Media Tips and Case Studies section of the Institute's website.

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