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Japan-Oriented New International Standard for Test Methods for Fibrous Activated Carbon Issued Taking Advantage of ISO Fast Track Procedure System Aiming at enhancing environmental conservation and safety and security for people's everyday life

Fibrous activated carbon is a type of carbon developed and produced in Japan. Products made of the carbon excel in the performance of removing hazardous substances. Japan submitted a proposal to the International Organization for Standardization(ISO)for establishing a new JIS-based international standard for test methods for fibrous activated carbon, taking advantage of the ISO fast track procedure system.* In response, the ISO officially issued a new international standard, taking a short period of just less than two years since Japan's submission of the proposal. This standard is expected to contribute to enhancing environmental conservation and safety and security for people’s everyday life and also to popularizing Japan's products of fibrous activated carbon with high performance worldwide.

1. Background

Fibrous activated carbon consists of fine fibers 10-20 micrometers in size. With its large surface area, the carbon absorbs hazardous substances at a ratio of over ten times faster than conventional absorbents. As the shape of the carbon is relatively freely processable compared to conventional granular activated carbon, the carbon is expected to be utilized in a variety of fields, including water treatment filters, air filters and filters for preventing air pollution(see Figure 2).

Meanwhile, there has been no international criteria to appropriately assess the performance of fibrous activated carbon concerning removal of hazardous substances, and this slowed popularizing the carbon among overseas markets.

figure 1
Figure 1:Structure of fibrous activated carbon
figure 2
Figure 2:Example of products made of fibrous activated carbon and utilization thereof
(Source: Osaka Gas Chemicals Co., Ltd. and Osaka Gas Co., Ltd.)

2. Outline of the international standard

In January 2016, taking advantage of the ISO fast track procedure system, the Japan Activated Carbon Fiber Association(JAFAC)submitted a proposal for establishing a new international standard, based on JIS K 1477(test methods for fibrous activated carbon), for fibrous activated carbon to the ISO/TC38(Textiles), the Secretariat of which has been served by a representative of the Japan Textile Evaluation Technology Council(JTETC). In response, through coordinating opinions among member countries and conducting the final voting by them, on November 15, 2017, the ISO officially issued a new international standard for fibrous activated carbon, taking a short period of just less than two years since JAFAC’s submission of its proposal.

Key points of the issuance of the new standard(ISO 21340: Textiles - Test methods for fibrous activated carbon)are as follows.

  • The new standard stipulates a method for assessing the size of surface areas of fibrous activated carbon as the method for measuring specific surface areas.
  • It stipulates a method for assessing the performance of absorbing organic solvents in air as the performance of adsorbing toluene vapor.
  • It stipulates a method for assessing the performance of absorbing organic substances in water as the performance for adsorbing methylene blue solution.

Note:Under the ISO fast track procedure system, the ISO will examine a proposal for establishing a new standard submitted by a member country in an accelerated manner if the proposal is formulated based on the existing domestic standard of the country and the government of the country has approved the proposal. When an ISO Technical Committee(TC)in charge receives such a proposal filed under the system, the ISO examines the proposal by skipping certain required processes, e.g., voting by member countries or members of a TC in charge, and issues a new international standard after approximately two-year examination, which takes approximately three years under the general procedure, if the proposal satisfies the approval criteria.

3. Expected effects

Worldwide dissemination of test methods for fibrous activated carbon under the standard will be expected to broadly raise public awareness of the performance of fibrous activated carbon for removing hazardous substances and to popularize Japan's products of fibrous activated carbon with high performance among overseas distribution markets. This standard is also expected to improve the reliability of products distributed in Japan and to contribute to enhancing environmental conservation and safety and security for people's everyday life.

Release date

November 21, 2017

Division in Charge

International Standardization Division, Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau

Related website

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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