ASTM International, an international standards organisation based in the US, has planned to start a new rubber subcommittee to focus on alternative sources of natural rubber and natural rubber latex. The organisation is welcoming “polymer experts” and members of regulatory bodies to join the new subcommittee (D11.21), which is part of ASTM’s D11Committee on Rubber – the subcommittee will be led by ASTM member Tom Marsh and will be developing standards covering “agricultural growth operations, processing, colloidal and physical testing of raw material, as well as in-process and finished goods made from raw material.”
As the Global Head for technical services, product development and laboratory services at natural rubber company Corrie MacColl International, Marsh said the rubber subcommittee will address the development of alternative polymers from natural sources other than traditional Hevea rubber origins.
“Standards that will be developed by the subcommittee will benefit a full range of stakeholders, from growers to distributors; compounders to manufacturers; laboratories to consumers; and will open up sourcing and supply in North America and Europe to complement global supply from Southeast Asia and Central America.”
Medical devices and personal protective equipment – much in use currently due to the COVID-19 pandemic – are listed as finished goods that the subcommittee will examine as these are made from rubber materials.