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NIST: Did you know ...

  • NIST's weights and measures services, a job assigned to the federal government in the Constitution, provide the basis for the fairness and efficiency of sales. These services underpin the efficiency of about half the U.S. economy, or about $7 trillion of the U.S. gross domestic product.

  • Eighty percent of global merchandise trade is influenced by testing and other measurement-related requirements of regulations and standards—and that U.S. companies increasingly depend on NIST to help ensure access to global markets that create new business and jobs?

  • Without NIST, U.S. manufacturers of such products as glucose and cholesterol test kits—in vitro diagnostic (IVD) devices—wouldn't be able to meet requirements of new European Union regulations and would have been shut out of the $7 billion European market where they now have more than 60 percent of the business?

  • The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation's highest honor awarded by the President of the United States to U.S. organizations for their performance excellence and quality achievements, is managed by NIST—and the award criteria are used by thousands of companies, schools, and hospitals to improve their products and services?

  • The total economic benefit of the NIST Baldrige National Quality Program—which receives little federal funding—is estimated at almost $25 billion, for a stunning benefit-cost ratio of 207 to 1?

  • The Baldrige program is so successful that it has spawned similar programs in more than 40 states?

  • NIST-developed performance-measurement methods have accelerated the adoption of new manufacturing capabilities, such as accuracy-enhancing software for machine tools, and led to new technology, such as laser tracker measurement systems used increasingly in the aerospace, automotive, and other industries?

  • NIST's technical contributions to the development of encryption standards for information technology have been estimated to have saved private industry more than $1 billion—and enable consumers and business to be confident about the security of their
    billions of dollars worth of electronic data transactions daily, such as withdrawals from ATMs?

  • About 2.6 billion times a day, or 30,000 times a second, NIST's Internet Time Service sets computer clocks and other networked timekeeping devices, such as those used to synchronize telecommunications systems?

  • NIST's Internet Time Service is used by NASDAQ members to time-stamp hundreds of billions of dollars worth of stock trades and other financial transactions conducted every business day?

  • In the Army alone, 58,000 different types of equipment require regular "NIST traceable" calibration, ensuring that measurements made during the development, testing, maintenance, and operation are valid; that their system will perform as designed; and that they will be interoperable with other systems on the battlefield?

  • NIST developed the testing procedures and other key technical elements of the Department of Homeland Security's performance standards for radiation detectors used at seaports, airports, and other points of entry into the United States?

  • More than 3,000 law-enforcement officers have been spared from death or disabling injury as a result of NIST-developed standards for ballistic-resistant body armor ("bullet-proof" vests)?

  • The National Research Council credits NIST Standard Reference Materials for DNA analyses with improving the accuracy of forensic DNA tests while reducing testing costs and that the criminal justice community depends on NIST to assure that its testing is accurate?

  • The United States spends more than $2 trillion on health care, and 10 percent to 15 percent of that is associated with making measurements—NIST's specialty?

  • NIST measurement services underpin the safety and effectiveness of about 10 million medical procedures that use radioactive materials—from prostate- and breast-cancer treatment to diagnostic imaging?

  • NIST X-ray standards and proficiency tests ensure proper radiation exposure levels in more than 10,000 facilities that perform more than 30 million mammograms yearly?

  • Many of the tools and materials used in modern dentistry—from the panoramic X-ray to composite fillings to an array of adhesives—originated at NIST through a partnership with the American Dental Association that began in 1928?

  • NIST Standard Reference Materials helped to significantly improve the accuracy of cholesterol tests, resulting in better diagnoses and treatments and an estimated annual savings of about $100 million?

  • Consumers and industry benefit from NIST measurement aids that help manufacturers to validate food production and quality control procedures and to ensure accurate nutritional labeling?

  • Emissions trading, called for by the Clean Air Act of 1990, depends on an initiative begun by NIST and the Environmental Protection Agency in cooperation with the specialty gas industry—and that a $64 billion market was created?

  • NIST led the development of performance standards and placement recommendations for smoke detectors, now in 94 percent of American homes and saving thousands of lives, or that half of home fire deaths occur in the 6 percent of homes with no smoke alarms?

  • NIST scientists have earned three Nobel Prizes over the last 11 years?

  • Closed-captioning for people with impaired hearing, now featured on all TV sets, was co-invented at NIST, earning it an Emmy Award in 1980?

  • Thousands of small manufacturers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico rely on the NIST Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership for hands-on technical and business assistance?

  • In a recent survey completed in FY 2007, covering projects completed in fiscal year 2006, 4,959 clients of NIST's Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership reported that, as a result of MEP services, they realized $1.1 billion in cost savings; invested $1.6 billion in modernization, including plant and equipment, information systems, and workforce training; increased or retained $6.8 billion in sales; and created and retained over 52,000 jobs?

  • U.S. automakers and their suppliers, which account for more than 3 percent of the nation's GDP, rely on NIST Standard Reference Materials to ensure quality in a wide range of tasks, from the processing of materials to final assembly, to emissions compliance?

Created April 27, 2010, Updated January 3, 2017