ASTM International has no role in requiring or enforcing compliance with its standards. The standards, however, may become mandatory when referenced by an external contract, corporation, or government.
- In the United States, ASTM standards have been adopted, by incorporation or by reference, in many federal, state, and municipal government regulations. The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act, passed in 1995, requires the federal government to use privately developed consensus standards whenever possible. The Act reflects what had long been recommended as best practice within the federal government.
- Other governments (local and worldwide) also have referenced ASTM standards.
- Corporations doing international business may choose to reference an ASTM standard.
- All toys sold in the United States must meet the safety requirements of ASTM F963, Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety, as part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). The law makes the ASTM F963 standard a mandatory requirement for toys while the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) studies the standard's effectiveness and issues final consumer guidelines for toy safety.