WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, PA - At its October 2009 meeting, the ASTM board of directors authorized ASTM's management to develop the capability to offer certification services. Titled the ASTM International Certification Program, the new initiative is sponsored by ASTM International and offers the opportunity for certification of products (materials, products, services and systems) as well as personnel.

The recent action by the ASTM board is a response to enquiries, particularly in the areas of new standards development activities, for ASTM to provide certification to meet expressed needs for independent, third-party demonstrations of compliance to standards. Similar requests have come to ASTM from those facing regulatory pressures to demonstrate standards compliance.

"The board agreed that the ability for the society to offer certification programs as a part of ASTM's portfolio of services – similar to our successful proficiency testing and training programmes – is important in remaining relevant in the changing global marketplace," says James A. Thomas, president of ASTM International. "This is the first step towards certification in ASTM's 111-year history. The board approved this initiative to satisfy the requirements of ASTM's diverse stakeholder community and to meet the needs of industries relying on ASTM International standards," says Thomas.

Potential product benefits of the ASTM Product Certification Program to manufacturers and consumers include increased confidence, reliable product comparisons, equitable testing and rating, potential liability reduction and facilitating regulatory compliance.

Requests for an ASTM program may come from ASTM technical committees or directly from industry, purchasers or government bodies. A product certified through ASTM's program would be tested, at the direction of ASTM International, by a third-party laboratory to determine the product's ability to conform to one or more ASTM standards. All program initiatives will be based on the level of interest of the relevant ASTM technical committee as well as the support of industry.

ASTM International is one of the largest international standards development and delivery systems in the world. ASTM International meets the World Trade Organisation (WTO) principles for the development of international standards: coherence, consensus, development dimension, effectiveness, impartiality, openness, relevance and transparency. ASTM standards are accepted and used in research and development, product testing, quality systems and commercial transactions. For more information, visitwww.astm.org/cert.