Consumers have varying levels of awareness of measurement in daily life. Since the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) Mendenhall Order in the late 1800's, many everyday measurements have been traceable to metric units. Many are not aware that "below the surface" the SI is the foundation for all measurements or of the extent the SI is used by industry to manufacture and supply the goods and services we all use every day.
Metrication, metric transition, metric conversion, or metrication are terms used to describe moving from use of local, traditional, or customary units of measure to the SI. Metric transition started shortly after the 1975 Metric Conversion Law was enacted. One of the first industry sector transitions occurred with Distilled Spirits & Wines, where transition was initiated by U.S. industry and coordinated by the U.S. Department of Treasury. Distilled Spirits and Wines have been successfully sold exclusively and accepted by U.S. consumers in metric units since the early 1980's. To learn more, explore the answers to commonly asked questions about metrication.
Since that time, the SI has become more prevalent in U.S. society. Use of SI measurements includes areas such as media reports (e.g., stories concerning global warming refers to metric tons of CO2 emissions, military deployments using kilometers), time (second), electric current (ampere, volt, ohm & watt), sports (track and field, cycling, Olympics), package labeling (especially beverages), healthcare (blood pressure, cholesterol levels, glucose measurements, prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and dietary supplement dosages), automotive (engines, tires, navigation systems, speedometers), and other consumer products (cameras, film, pens). U.S. consumers are becoming more familiar with grams and milligrams through information provided on mandatory nutritional labeling. Advertising, coupons, and consumer product packaging are increasingly found using metric units exclusively.