with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers' Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code. A professional association-operated program that is likely familiar to many consumers is that of the American Dental Association (ADA), whose certification mark is printed on toothpaste tubes. The ADA assesses product specifications provided by the manufacturer and tests samples purchased on the open market.34
Construction and building materials certification is an area of great activity and complexity in the U.S. system that overlaps the public and private sectors. As noted in the previous chapter, state and local governments are responsible for establishing safe building codes. To meet this responsibility, hundreds of these agencies have established mandatory requirements by reference to private certification programs. Private programs are operated by a variety of model building code organizations. These include the Building Officials and Code Administrators International, the International Conference of Building Officials, and the Southern Building Code Congress International.35 These organizations compete with one another for certification business. In the absence of reciprocal recognition among these programs, manufacturers of building products and materials must seek multiple, redundant certifications to sell in multiple jurisdictions.36
States are active in other areas of product certification in addition to building materials. The most recent comprehensive directory of such programs, compiled by NIST in 1987, identifies states with regulations in products sectors ranging from agriculture and alcoholic beverages to consumer goods, machinery, and transportation.37 Some of the sectors with the broadest coverage among states are agricultural commodities, regulated by 43 states; plant nursery stock, 47 states; road and bridge construction materials, 49 states; and measuring and weighing devices, all 50 states.
Requirements for certification in most product sectors vary by state. Activities to harmonize these requirements on a nationwide basis, however, are limited. One exception is in the area of weighing and measuring devices. These devices are required to be certified in order to ensure accurate, reliable measurement of commodities for sale. Under the leadership of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Conference on Weights and Measures has worked to foster mutual recognition among more than 3,000 state and local weights and measures authorities throughout the United States. Through a network of agreements among these authorities, products may be weighed, measured, and packaged in one jurisdiction without having to be remeasured when shipped elsewhere in the United States.38 Although specific estimates of U.S. economic benefit from this program do not exist, it is clear that the economies of scale created by this country's large domestic market would be reduced if the free flow of domestic commerce were interrupted for reweighing of packaged products at state lines.
A 1988 directory published by NIST lists 84 certification programs run by federal agencies. These draw their authority from a range of federal laws and