by the certifier or an independent laboratory, the certifier's role is to interpret the standard and judge whether the test results justify declaring the product to be in conformance.28
The majority of third-party certifiers in the United States are private, for-profit testing laboratories. As discussed in the previous section, these represent a large and growing service industry. In addition to providing testing services, many of these laboratories take the additional step of certifying products as meeting particular standards. Members of the ACIL that test and certify products include, among many others, ETL Testing Laboratories, for consumer appliances, sports equipment, safety glass, and other areas; United States Testing Company, for areas such as toy safety and toxicology; and MET Electrical Testing Company, for workplace safety, telecommunications equipment, and others.29
A number of broadly familiar certification programs, many of which incorporate their own certification marks, are conducted by private, not-for-profit organizations. Underwriters Laboratories (UL), founded in 1894, is one of the oldest certifiers in this country. UL is a major standards developer in the consumer product safety area, with more than 600 published safety standards.30 It is also a leading tester and certifier of products, devices, and materials. UL certification of product safety—known as "listing" the product—authorizes the manufacturer to print UL's certification mark on the product or its packaging. Another not-for-profit testing and certification organization is the Factory Mutual Research Corporation. Factory Mutual tests and lists approved products as part of a series of activities to reduce industrial property damage.31
NSF International is a private, not-for-profit certifier in the areas of public health and the environment. NSF, like UL, is also a developer of ANSI-approved consensus standards. NSF's product standards and certification activities include, for example, a drinking water additives program initiated in 1985 under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). NSF certifies products for compliance with ANSI/NSF Standards 60 and 61, for drinking water treatment chemicals and water system components. These certifications are accepted for regulatory purposes by the EPA and state regulators.32
The American Gas Association (AGA) certification program has been in operation since 1925. AGA tests in its own laboratories and certifies gas appliances and accessories, including furnaces and cooking appliances. Requirements for AGA certification, besides testing, include a review of design information and construction parameters, as well as factory and quality control inspections.33 Other industry association-operated certification programs include those of the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute, for air conditioners and water coolers, and the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, for refrigerators, air conditioners, and dehumidifiers.
The National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors certifies boilers and components, water heaters, and nuclear reactor installations for compliance