The revised Directory of U.S. Private Sector Product Certification Programs, published by the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology, now lists 178 organizations that provide product certification services in the United States. NIST Special Publication 903 is designed to meet the needs of federal agencies and standards writers as well as manufacturers, engineers, purchasing agents, distributors and others concerned with product-related certification procedures.
The directory summarizes the activities of organizations that operate within the United States, those that operate at both the U.S. and international levels, and those that operate as the U.S. component of an international program. The directory includes organizations which: (1)administer a certification program and certify that products meet particular criteria; (2)administer a program using an independent, third-party certifier; or (3)serve as the independent, third-party certifier for a program administered by another organization.
Entries in the directory describe the type and purpose of each organization, nature of the activity, products certified, standards used in the assessment, certification requirements and any accreditation or recognition by a U.S. or foreign private sector or government agency, availability of services, methods of cost determination, and other relevant details. Where available, a representation of the organization's mark is included with each entry as well as a pictorial index of all such marks.
The directory is an important part of an ongoing effort by NIST's Office of Standards Services to carry out its trade-related responsibilities under the World Trade Organization Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, negotiated under the Uruguay Round of the Multilateral Trade Negotiations and the North American Free Trade Agreement. One of these responsibilities is to maintain a center for information on standards and conformity assessment, including product certification.
The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 gave NIST responsibility for coordinating federal, state and local technical standards and conformity assessment activities with the goal of "eliminating unnecessary duplication and complexity in the development and promulgation of conformity assessment requirements and measures." Information in SP-903 will be useful in addressing the NIST's conformity assessment responsibilities under the act by identifying relevant private sector certification activities.
The Directory of U.S. Private Sector Product Certification Programs was prepared for OSS by Charles W. Hyer of the Marley Organization, Inc.
Copies of SP-903 are available from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, (202) 512-1800. Order by stock no. 003-003-03414-2.
For a list of other standards-related directories published by OSS, contact the National Center for Standards and Certification Information, Building 820, Room 164, NIST, Gaithersburg, Md. 20899-0001, (301) 975-4040, fax: (301) 926-1559, e-mail: joanne.overman [at] nist.gov (joanne[dot]overman[at]nist[dot]gov).
As an agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, NIST promotes U.S. economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards.