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ISO Consumer update

No. 05 - January 2011

….An update of ISO's activities regarding standards and consumer protection, for the members and stakeholders of the ISO Committee on consumer policy (ISO/COPOLCO).

ISO/COPOLCO is ISO's forum for promoting consumer interests in standardization. Its mission is to:

  • Enhance the market relevance of International Standards by promoting and facilitating the input of consumers' views into ISO's policies, procedures, standards and services
  • Help consumers around the world benefit from standardization.

You are receiving this eNewsletter because you are involved in the activities of ISO/COPOLCO.

If you do not want to receive the Newsletter click here to unsubscribe.



What's happening …

ISO/COPOLCO focuses its 2011 workshop on homes for tomorrow

Energy efficient appartment blockHow can standards help our homes reflect trends and daily realities in an evolving world?

The ISO Committee on consumer policy (ISO/COPOLCO) will address this question in a workshop, Homes for tomorrow – building through standards,  and consider if, and how, standards can add value.  This workshop will take place in London on 24 May 2011 at the invitation of the British Standards Institution.

Consumer priorities worldwide have shifted towards a growing demand for more sustainable consumption of goods and services, including housing. Furthermore, recent media attention to disasters has highlighted the need for viable and effective housing options for stricken populations and appropriate design to help mitigate the effects of disasters when they occur.

ISO/COPOLCO holds a workshop every year on a theme of current interest, with the objective to identify potential subjects for standardization, or indicate areas where some policy initiative would be desirable.

The workshop will be held in conjunction with COPOLCO’s annual plenary meeting on 25-26 May 2011, along with working group meetings and a training event aimed at COPOLCO members from developing countries. All events will be held at the Grange St. Paul’s Hotel in central London.

For more information, contact


Workshop on accessibility: presentations and conclusions

The previous issue of ISO Consumer update (No. 04) mentioned the World Standards Cooperation workshop, Accessibility and the contribution of international Standards.

A core objective of the accessibility workshop was to lay the groundwork for a road map of future initiatives on accessibility standards and related support for these standards, with the involvement of the key stakeholders.
For the presentations, follow this link.
For the conclusions, follow this link.
The workshop is just one among many activities of  the World Standards Cooperation, which has also set up a dedicated Web page and a newsletter featuring the benefits of International Standards.
For more about the WSC, follow this link.

Link up with "who's who" and "what's what"

Have you ever wanted to know:

  • where consumers participate in ISO’s technical committees?
  • what ISO work most interests consumers?
  • which ISO standards are relevant to consumers?
  • how other ISO members involve consumers nationally?

The answers to all of these questions are right at your fingertips with the ISO Directory of consumer interest participation. See the Directory on ISO Online under consumer interest, or just type in your browser.

In 2009, ISO published the Directory to facilitate the exchange of information about consumer interest involvement in ISO’s standards and policy work. This is a central repository of information and complimentary resource for ISO members, their constituents, and the wider public. ISO members have been invited to provide national data information and keep it up to date. The Directory focuses on consumer participation in priority areas identified by the ISO Committee on consumer policy (ISO/COPOLCO).

For each country listed in the Directory, users can find:

  • the contact person for consumer matters
  • types of consumer participation in policy and/or governance committees
  • support that the ISO member provides for consumer interest involvement
  • publicly available resources for consumer stakeholders.

For specific priority areas, users can find:

  • consumer representation on international committees of ISO or the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
  • national committees or mirror committees
  • other related initiatives.

For more, follow this link.



What's new in International Standards

"International Standards? So what?"…. find out with new ISO videos

ISO has just released two new videos – one for the general public and the other for business and government audiences – that communicate how standards help people in all aspects of daily life and provide tools to assist organizations in improving all aspects of their operations.

For more, follow this link.


ISO expands work into new technical areas

ISO has recently established new Technical Committees for treated wastewater re-use for irrigation (ISO/TC 253), safety of amusement parks (ISO/TC 254), and biogas (ISO/TC  255). Updates will be given as work progresses.

For more, follow this link.


ISO offers new brochures and posters on ISO 26000

ISO has just published two brochures and two posters to facilitate understanding and use of its new ISO 26000 standard giving guidance on social responsibility, which was launched on 1 November 2010 (also see ISO Consumer update No. 04). The brochures are:

ISO 26000 project overview. This provides answers to questions such as: How did the project come about? How does ISO 26000 relating to existing work on social responsibility? Who developed ISO 26000?

Discovering ISO 26000. This is a resume of the contents of ISO 26000, providing a basic understanding of the standard and what it can help organizations to achieve.

For more, follow this link.


ISO standard gives cosmetic industry and regulatory agencies new tool to identify microbiological low-risk products

From shampoo to lipstick to face cream, cosmetic products are used to help keep us stay fresh, clean, and even look and feel younger and more beautiful. However, they can also carry a risk of contamination. ISO is contributing to a solution in the form of an International Standard that will help the cosmetic industry identify which levels and types of contamination represent a health hazard and which are safe.

There are many ways in which a cosmetic product can be contaminated by microorganisms. These then multiply to produce high bacterial counts that can cause adverse effects on product quality and consumer health, ranging from infections to severe allergic reactions. ISO 29621:2010, Cosmetics – Microbiology – Guidelines for the risk assessment and identification of microbiologically low-risk products, will help determine which cosmetic products present a low risk to users, where the likelihood of contamination is extremely low.

For more, follow this link.


ISO highlights importance of condom standards on World AIDS Day

Condoms are widely acknowledged to reduce the risk of HIV infection. On World AIDS Day, 1 December 2010, ISO highlighted the importance of developing and implementing International Standards for condoms to ensure their effective performance. A key standard is ISO 4074:2002, Natural rubber latex condoms – Requirements and test methods, which provides the basis for much of the world’s trade in condoms. ISO 4074 is widely used by procurement agencies and HIV prevention and family planning agencies, and is referenced extensively by the World Health Organization in its purchasing specifications for condoms.

For more, follow this link.


Confused by rings, beeps and honks? ISO standard offers a solution

Are the rings, beeps, honks, and other sounds made by consumer products driving you crazy? Are you confused about which product is making the sound signal, and what it means?

To respond to these issues, ISO 24500:2010, Ergonomics – Accessible design – Auditory signals for consumer products provides auditory signal patterns used to convey information to consumers related to a product’s use. Now everyday items such as your personal computer, your camera, or your child’s favorite toy will give out a signal that will be easy to understand, without causing confusion with other sound signals.

For more, follow this link.



Around the world … COPOLCO member news


Canadian Parliament passes new act on product safety

On 14 December 2010, the Canadian Parliament passed the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA), an important step towards signing new product safety requirements into law.
The new CCPSA will better protect the health and safety of Canadians by:

  • prohibiting the manufacture, import, advertisement or sale of any consumer products that pose an unreasonable danger to human health or safety;
  • requiring industry to report a serious incident, or death, related to their product, so as to provide government with timely information about important product safety issues;
  • requiring manufacturers or importers to provide test/study results on products when asked;
  • allowing Health Canada to recall dangerous consumer products; and raising fines and penalties for non-compliance.

An accelerated implementation plan is being developed in order to facilitate the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act coming into force in the next few months.  To make the transition from the Hazardous Products Act to the new legislation as smooth as possible, the Government will be actively communicating with industry to inform them of the coming-into-force date and their new obligations and requirements under the Act.  The Government is also committed to keeping consumers informed as to how the legislation will affect them and the products they buy.

Over the past year, the Harper Government has demonstrated its ongoing commitment to consumer product safety through new regulations on lead, cribs and cradles, and surface coating materials.  With the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, the Government will continue to provide a high level of protection for Canadians and will be able to do even more to address emerging consumer product safety issues. 

For more information, consult the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act Web site:


Joint project brings stakeholder participation to product safety standards

The National Institute of Standardization (INN) and the National Consumer Service (SERNAC) have established a joint project to develop safety standards for children's products. As part of the effort, these organizations jointly established a national mirror committee involving various stakeholders. They also invited consumer organizations and civil society to a standards development workshop.

INN and SERNAC will run a first phase of the project through 2011 and will produce five Chilean standards related to product safety, under the terms of their Agreement on Mutual Cooperation and Assistance. This initiative was funded by SERNAC. It focuses on non-food consumer products, and aims to improve consumer safety by promoting enhanced stakeholder participation and alignment with international standards.

Members of the mirror committee include stakeholders from government agencies, manufacturers of children's products, laboratories, consumer organizations, and others. Its purpose is to review the documents produced by ISO committees such as ISO/TC 240, Product recall, and ISO/TC 243 Consumer product safety. It will also cover  COPOLCO working groups dealing with product safety, global marketplace issues and the revision of ISO/IEC Guide 37 on instructions for use of consumer products.


ISO/TC 240 and ISO/TC 243 hold joint meeting

SERNAC hosted the joint meeting of ISO/TC 240 and ISO/TC 243 on 15-18 November 2010. The meeting allowed these technical committees to prepare their drafts for submission as Committee Drafts.

Participants to ISO/TC 240 and ISO/TC 243 meeting in Chile

An awareness-raising workshop for nine consumer organizations and three non-governmental organizations took place jointly with the technical committee meetings. The participants discussed issues related to product safety, standards-sharing tools, and the impact of standards on daily life. Other important themes included the relationships between suppliers, consumers and standards; weighing of different priorities for issues affecting quality of life; and methods of communication to consumers.



A consumer platform, "Top-normy", introduces safety mark for children's playgrounds

czech safety markThe newly-established Cabinet for Standardization (“”), a collaborative effort of the Czech Office for Standards, Metrology and Testing (UNMZ) and the Czech Consumer Association, has developed a safety mark for the performance of children’s playgrounds and similar premises (

The mark is administered by a consortium composed of the Czech Consumer Association, the Cabinet for Standardization and a specialized organization, SOTKVO. The consortium manages the assessment and inspection of child playgrounds, sport fields, gymnasiums and similar sites. Premises undergoing site assessment, and which meet requirements, are certified with the mark, “ assessed premises” (see the mark above).

How the mark works
A 3rd party inspector conducts a technical audit of the premises; the assessment is performed in conformity with European standards. Periodical inspections then take place to verify that the quality and safety of the service offered by the premises is sustained.

The mark is displayed at the entrance of the premises and provides assurance to users (e.g. parents) that the premises operate under regular, independent and technically competent inspection.

At the beginning of November 2010, the Cabinet organized an international seminar on the safety of children’s playgrounds. Approximately 120 participants attended this seminar.  The first group of three children’s playgrounds has now been granted the license to use the new safety mark.


Model for consumer participation now fully operational

The Czech Consumer Association established the Cabinet for Standardization (“Top-normy”) early in 2010 (See ISO Consumer update, No. 02) as a joint project with UNMZ. The Cabinet is legally registered as a public service organization with the aim to "professionalize" consumer participation in standardization. This involves enhancing expertise, and retaining a stable cadre of trained consumer representatives and experts to participate in standards development at the national, European and international levels.

The Cabinet benefits from bilateral support arrangements with the EEA and Norway, as well as support from UNMZ.

For more information, contact Mr. Libor Dupal, Chairman of the Czech Consumer Association and Director of the Cabinet, at



Improving health care for all — the role for standards

At some time, we all need health care for ourselves, our family or friends. A meeting of the British Standards Institution Consumer & Public Interest Network (BSI/CPIN) which took place on 8 December brought this message home to participants, and allowed useful exchanges to take place. Ms. Lynn Faulds Wood, CPIN Chair and President of the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC), moderated this workshop.

Mr. Colin Adamson, a consultant in customer service, presented a recent UK government White Paper on making the National Health Service  “more responsive to patients… achieve better outcomes, with increased autonomy and clearer accountability”. Mr. Paul Whaley, from the Cancer Prevention and Education Society, addressed the potentially harmful effects of chemicals in the environment.

The day included a lively Q & A session and workshops covering how further standards programmes might evolve in the wake of the White Paper and in relation to differences in public and private health care provision.

See for presentations.


Fair and flexible services for all

BSI has published new leaflets to inform the general public of two new British Standards, aimed at the most vulnerable consumers and at otherwise under-served consumers.  Both leaflets had strong input from BSI CPI representatives.

The British Standard for Inclusive Service Provision, BS 18477 sets guidelines to help organizations provide fair, flexible service to consumers regardless of their health, age or personal circumstances. It also helps service providers take account of newly-vulnerable consumers (e.g. newly unemployed,  bereaved, or suffering from progressive disability).

Many types of organizations and consumers worked together to develop the British Standard for Web Accessibility, BS 8878, taking account of other recognized guidance such as the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The standard sets guidelines to help organizations make their web products accessible to as many people as possible.

Consumer leaflets in an accessible PDF format will shortly be available on the BSI CPI website at:



Standards and codes for electric drive vehicles

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is organizing the ANSI Workshop: Standards and Codes for Electric Drive Vehicles on 5-6 April 2011, in Bethesda, Maryland. This workshop is being convened on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy and the Idaho National Laboratory.  It will consider current and future standards, codes, and conformity assessment activities – U.S. domestic, regional and international. Interested stakeholders will hear high-level overviews of work taking place, and engage in discussions to identify gaps in coverage and explore opportunities for collaboration and coordination.  A report will be produced following the workshop. 

For more, see the news section of or follow this link.


Emergency preparedness for persons with disabilities and special needs

Catastrophic events such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the 9/11 attacks revealed the crucial need for standards and other means of guidance to enhance emergency preparedness for persons with special needs. In an effort to advance standardization efforts in this area, the ANSI Homeland Security Standards Panel (ANSI-HSSP) has released a final workshop report outlining recommendations for the timely development of standards to support more effective emergency preparedness for all. The report consolidates the panel’s findings from a series of 2010 workshops that examined various aspects of the standards and codes needed for reducing barriers to accessibility in emergencies.

For more,  see the news section of or follow this link.


Did you know …?

ISO FOCUS+ Coverthat ISO’s magazine, ISO Focus+, highlighted consumers in its October issue, and that reading it will give you an excellent perspective on consumers’ contributions to ISO’s work programme?

Complimentary copies are available upon request. Contact for more information.


To find out more...

Visit us in the consumer section of ISO's Web site, ISO Online, Consult: "Resources for ….. Consumers".

Is the ISO member in your country a member of COPOLCO? If not, encourage this national standards body to join COPOLCO!

For a full list of ISO members, see

Is your organization a member of Consumers International? Find CI at

Questions …? Comments… ? News to share…? Subscription requests …..? We would like to hear from you!  Contact us at


ISO Consumer update is a free service by the Secretariat of the ISO Committee on consumer policy (ISO/COPOLCO).
Editor: Ms. Dana Kissinger-Matray, Secretary of ISO/COPOLCO.

ISO Consumer update gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the Marketing, Communication and Information services of the ISO Central Secretariat.


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