The Economic Impact of the Gas-Mixture NIST-Traceable Reference Materials Program
The gas mixture NIST-Traceable Reference Materials (NTRM) program was jointly created by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and specialty gas companies (SGCs) to increase the availability of NIST-certified gas-mixture reference materials. Under the program, SGCs manufacture gas-mixture standard reference material (SRM) equivalents under NIST’s technical specifications and submit these gas mixtures to NIST for certification. The NTRM program is integral to the supply of highly accurate reference standards that are used by industry to support compliance with environmental regulations. Environmental regulation has become increasingly sophisticated over time and often requires facilities and monitoring organizations to supply real-time information on the pollutants that they are emitting to the environment. To meet these regulations’ data acquisition and accuracy needs, regulated establishments are required to calibrate pollution monitoring equipment with reference standards traceable to NIST. The objective of this study is to conduct a microeconomic impact assessment of the NTRM program to estimate its impact on U.S. industry and determine its economic return. Economic impacts are measured relative to a counterfactual scenario that describes the reference material supply chain in the absence of the NTRM program. The counterfactual scenario specifies the behavior changes that SGCs and users of reference materials (referred to as end users) would likely need to make if NTRMs were not available to produce NIST-Traceable Gases (NTGs).