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Voluntary Standards Cover the Spectrum: from Chemical Protective Clothing to Downhill Mountain Bike Helmets

In an effort to communicate the vital role that standards play in daily life, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) 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:

Chemical Protective Clothing
Hazardous chemicals are used in many industries, from agriculture to manufacturing to pharmaceuticals. Whether solid, liquid, or gas, they pose some of the most serious health hazards facing workers today. The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA), a ANSI member and accredited standards developer, recently released an American National Standard (ANS) that addresses protective apparel for workers who come into contact with these chemicals.

ANSI/ISEA 103-2010, Classification and Performance Requirements for Chemical Protective Clothing, establishes performance, labeling, and certification requirements for clothing designed to protect against hazardous chemicals. The standard establishes six categories of protective apparel, along with a guide to aid users in selecting the appropriate garment based on the specific hazards present in the working environment.

The standard also outlines performance test methods for material and whole garments in each category, guidelines for conducting hazard and risk assessments, and recommended performance levels. Items covered include encapsulating suits, splash suits, coveralls, jackets, pants, aprons, smocks, hoods, sleeves, and shoe and boot covers.

Downhill Mountain Bike Helmets
For the rugged at heart, mountain biking combines intense exercise with exhilarating outdoor adventure. The sport, which has enjoyed a rise in popularity in recent years, encompasses cross country, mountain, and trail riding as well as its more daring variations: dirt jumping, free ride, and downhill biking.

As the name implies, downhill mountain biking races are held on steep, downhill terrain, and can even include extended air jumps and other obstacles. Given the speeds associated with the sport, it is critical that helmets worn by downhill mountain bikers offer adequate impact protection. A new standard from ASTM International aims to help do just that.

ASTM F1952-10, Standard Specification for Helmets Used for Downhill Mountain Bicycle Racing, specifies impact protection as well as performance criteria for chin bars on full-face helmets. Recognizing the desirability of lightweight construction and ventilation, the standard was written as a performance specification and is not intended to restrict design. Except where noted, all testing and requirements of ASTM F1952-10 shall be in accordance with ASTM F1446-08, Standard Test Methods for Equipment and Procedures Used in Evaluating the Performance Characteristics of Protective Headgear.

ASTM International, an ANSI audited designator, seeks to develop voluntary consensus standards to improve product quality, enhance safety, and build consumer confidence.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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