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ASTM International:

Providing the Value, Strength and Respect of Marketplace Consensus

ASTM International is one of the largest voluntary standards development organizations in the world. The not-for-profit organization provides a global forum for the development and publication of voluntary consensus standards for materials, products, systems, and services.

Founded in 1898, the organization has over 30,000 members from 100 nations, including Golden Artist Colors, Inc. ASTM International's voluntary members are producers, users, consumers and representatives of government and academia. In over 130 varied industry areas such as metals, paints, plastics, textiles, petroleum, construction, energy, the environment, medical services and devices, and many others, ASTM standards serve as the basis for manufacturing, procurement and regulatory activities. ASTM Headquarters has no technical research or testing facilities; all the research work is done voluntarily by ASTM members located throughout the globe and members vote on all aspects of the tests, methods and standards.

More than 10,000 ASTM standards are published each year in the 73 volumes of the Annual Book of ASTM Standards. These standards and related technical information are sold throughout the world.
A few of the standards Golden Artist Colors, Inc. is helping the group research and test right now include the Tinting Strength Standard and the Ground/Primer Standard.

Tinting Strength is often thought of as one of the most important indicators of high quality artist's paints. ASTM D 4838 is currently the Tinting Strength Standard, but because many manufacturers don't use it, the D01.57 Subcommittee of ASTM is currently working on developing a new method to use for testing the tinting strength of artist's colors in both acrylic and oil media. It has not yet been decided how this test method will be applied to labeling or product quality standards. For example, one alternative being considered is that a minimum tinting strength requirement be added to existing standards, such as D 5098, which is the Standard Specification for Artists' Acrylic Emulsion Paints. Alternatively, it may be possible to have a separate standard that manufacturers can choose to conform to.

"Round robin" tests are being performed at this time to test the proposed test method. A round robin test creates a dynamic where various laboratories will independently use the method and share their results. This gives the subcommittee valuable data and results from multiple independent labs to consider for the validity and feasibility of the test method. Round robin testing also verifies the repeatability and reproducibility of any test methods.

The Ground/Primer Standard is in many ways in its infancy. There is a wide breadth of information and testing to be researched and accomplished to have a fully comprehensible Ground/Primer method. The ASTM subcommittee is currently creating a strategy around the topic and assessing potential avenues to pursue. One interesting direction the Subcommittee is seriously considering is developing a standard that reads similar to an application guide or a "best practices" guide. With the expertise of artists, manufacturers and special interest groups like conservation scientists and raw material suppliers, the Subcommittee functions as a well-rounded, knowledgeable team.

The Artists' Paints and Related Materials Subcommittee has about 45 voting members and 17 non-voting members, representing an incredibly diverse group of individuals, including artists, educators, conservators, medical doctors, chemists and other materials scientists, and representatives from art materials manufacturers, artists' groups, manufacturers of testing equipment, and regulatory agencies, resulting in a very unique group. This group has developed and published eleven standards, covering such topics as testing of pigments for lightfastness, labeling content, paint performance criteria, and the health hazard labeling of art materials. The group's mission includes the education of artists through the dissemination of information about the Standards. Furthering this part of the mission, the Subcommittee recently has commissioned articles for artists' magazines, to be written by Subcommittee experts. Topics include such issues as quality labeling of artists' paints, lightfastness testing procedures for the non-scientist and descriptions of current research on modern artists' materials, among many others.

The standards that this dedicated group of individuals has developed, have and continue to play a preeminent role in all aspects important to the industry, including classification, sampling, preparation, components, application, analysis, quality assurance, end-use performance requirements, and public health and safety.

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