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Standards Stand Up to the Summer Sun


School's out, the sun's out, and families everywhere are packing their gear for a trip to the beach. While the sun and the water provide plenty of entertainment, they also carry risks that can't be ignored. Fortunately, standards are there to support health and safety for a day (or week, or entire summer!) in the sun.

Protecting skin with sunblock is nearly ubiquitous these days, but it's important to remember another body part that needs shielding too - the eyes. Extended exposure to the UV rays of the sun can damage eyes, and lead to conditions from cataracts to macular degeneration. ANSI Z80.3-2018, Ophthalmics - Nonprescription Sunglass and Fashion Eyewear Requirements, is an American National Standard (ANS) that provides requirements for all nonprescription sunglasses, determining specifications for glasses that assure the wearer's safety in the presence of UV rays. ANSI Z80.3-2018 was developed by the Z80 American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited Standards Committee for Ophthalmic Optics. ANSI member and accredited standards developer The Vision Council, a trade association for the optical industry, serves as the secretariat for this committee.

Standards keep the sun in check, but what about the water? For those who leave the safety of their beach towel and step into the waves, standards provide guidelines to assure that they will be greeted with clear and appropriate signage on wind and water conditions, locations safe for swimming, and other critical information. ISO 20712 is a three-part international standard that guides the safe and effective use of water safety signs and beach safety flags. The standard includes:

- ISO 20712-1:2008, Water safety signs and beach safety flags - Part 1: Specifications for water safety signs used in workplaces and public areas

- ISO 20712-2:2007, Water safety signs and beach safety flags - Part 2: Specifications for beach safety flags - Colour, shape, meaning and performance

- ISO 20712-3:2014, Water safety signs and beach safety flags - Part 3: Guidance for use

These documents were developed by International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee (TC) 145, Graphical symbols, Subcommittee (SC) 2, Safety identification, signs, shapes, symbols and colours. ANSI member and accredited standards developer the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) serves as the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Administrator to both ISO TC 145 and SC 2.

With safety in the water and sun in place, beachgoers can turn their thoughts to something more lighthearted - looking good in their beach gear. ASTM International, an ANSI member and audited designator, has several standards that provide performance specifications for beachwear to be used in and out of the water, assuring durability and function:

- ASTM D7268-14, Standard Performance Specification for Seamless Knit Garments Including Intimates and Swimwear

- ASTM D4154-14, Standard Performance Specification for Men's and Boy's Knitted and Woven Beachwear and Sports Shirt Fabrics

- ASTM D4156-14, Standard Performance Specification for Women's and Girls' Knitted Sportswear Fabrics

Relaxing at the beach is what summer is all about, and thanks to international and American National Standards, it's easy to do this safely and stylishly.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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