ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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As Temperatures Drop, Standards Provide Warmth

New York, Jan 23, 2009

With freezing temperatures and chilly winds in weather forecasts all over the country, Americans are bundling up this winter to stay warm. Standards can help, providing guidelines for products that help consumers stay cozy and comfortable in any weather.

An integral part of staying warm in chilly weather is keeping dry. If skin gets wet from rain or snow that has seeped through clothing, heat will be transferred to the water, lowering body temperature. An International Standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) provides guidelines to test whether fabrics are water resistant. ISO 18695:2007, Textiles - Determination of resistance to water penetration - Impact penetration test is specifically designed for apparel fabrics, and those that perform well are likely better suited for warm winter clothing.

ISO 18695:2007 was developed by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 38, Textiles, Subcommittee (SC) 2, Cleansing, finishing and water resistance tests. This SC is under U.S. leadership by chairperson Ms. Norma Keyes, and secretariat the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC). AATCC is a member of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

The U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) administrator for this Committee and Subcommittee is ASTM International, an ANSI member and audited designator.

When it’s raining, snowing, or just icy, hands and feet are bound to feel the effects. ISO addresses keeping feet warm with its standard, ISO 20877:2001, Footwear -- Test methods for whole shoe -- Thermal insulation. This document, developed by TC 216, Footwear, applies to all types of closed shoes, describing a method for measuring footwear insulation against the cold.

At the thought of snowy days and wet feet, many choose to stay home and keep warm under the covers. On very chilly days, electric blankets provide a much appreciated extra measure of warmth. A standard developed by ANSI member and audited designator Underwriters Laboratories (UL) provides basic guidelines for these appliances to assure proper functionality and safety. UL 964 (Ed. 11), Standard for Electrically Heated Bedding, covers 120-volt electrically heated blankets, comforters, quilts, sheets, mattress pads, mattresses, foot warmers, throw blankets, and similar bedding designed to keep consumers warm when temperatures drop.

Whether braving the cold with waterproof clothes and warm boots, or staying home to cuddle up with an electric blanket, standards are in place to assure warmth and comfort in the cold winter months.

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