Fall has officially arrived and tomorrow is the first day of October when we think of football, colorful leaves and Halloween. It is also time to think of warmer clothes for those cool autumn evenings. Speaking of clothing, it is also time for me to give you an update on the latest in protective clothing testing and evaluation. I have been busy the last few months over seeing permeation testing that is now being conducted at DuPont’s Haskell Laboratory. Several requests were received for permeation tests on chemicals important to DuPont businesses, so given the need for quick turn around and reliable laboratory data for business units and customers, I trained technicians at Haskell to do testing. They have set up an automated test system complete with Pesce test cells and have been generating reports on several chemicals and protective clothing materials. Results of the tests have helped protect workers by providing updated MSDS information on clothing recommendations for specific chemicals and permeation data for DuPont’s Tyvek and TyChem permeation guide.
For those of you doing your own testing, I thought I might give you some additional information on the test cells. The cells can be adopted for gas phase testing or liquid phase testing, just by ordering the gas collection chamber for gases and liquid collection chamber for solutions. The gas collection chamber is constructed with an inlet and outlet port for continuously sweeping across the inside surface of the clothing sample, while the liquid collection chamber has a sampling port and a port for inserting a glass mixing rod. Both collection chambers can be ordered for the 1 inch cell and 2 inch cells. They also can be ordered for submerging in a water bath, so that tests can be performed at constant temperature if requested. When doing permeation tests at these different conditions it is always important to report the temperature and type of collection medium used. I also have found that small magnetic stirrers work well for mixing aqueous liquid collection medium, since they are not susceptible to breaking. Another update is that I have received a complimentary copy of the second edition of the industrial hygiene white book, The Occupational Environment: Its Evaluation, Control, and Management, edited by Salvatore R. DiNardi. This is the industrial hygienist’s reference book for the fundamental practice of industrial hygiene and safety. I received a copy because I co-authored Chapter 35 on Protective Clothing with my colleague Zack Mansdorf, co-author of the Quick Selection guide to Protective Clothing. This chapter gives an updated review of protective clothing test methods, selection guidelines, and management of protective clothing programs. In addition, I have also been working with members of ASTM Committee F-23 on Protective Clothing in planning for the 8th International Symposium on Protective Clothing scheduled for January 13 -14, 2004 in Tampa, Florida. This Symposium will have technical platform presentations, a poster session and round table discussion on the performance of protective clothing, global needs and emerging markets. If you want to know the latest in protective clothing development, this symposium is the place to be. I will also be giving a paper on the work I did on chlorine dioxide permeation for suits worn by emergency responders in response to the Anthrax bio-terrorism incident. According to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer last month, first responders do not know how well their clothing would protect them or how well their equipment would function in emergency situations involving chemical and biological agents. So for now the work goes on in protective clothing testing, evaluation and communication. I enjoy sharing these updates with you on a quarterly basis and look forward to continuing next year. So have a nice, healthy and safe Holiday season.