We at Pesce Lab Sales were pleasantly surprised by Norm’s Lab Corner Final Edition. It brought back memories of Paul and Norm working together in the development and final design of the test cells. That working relationship turned into a great friendship that continues with us today.
Norms years of dedicated service to the Industrial Hygiene Industry is unparalleled. To this day he continues to be recognized by his peers and remains a reliable source for technical information. We look forward to continuing this relationship, both personally and professionally.
Pesce Lab Sales
It’s been a long time since I wrote my Quarterly column for Pesce Lab Sales’s Web page. After having lunch with Rich Pesce last month and reflecting on over 40 years of working as a protective clothing consultant for the permeation test cells that they produce, I thought about the contribution their business has provided to safety and health professionals testing protective clothing for permeation resistance to hazardous chemicals identified. This happened in the early 1970’s after the passage of the Occupational Safety Act in 1970. Before that there was no standard permeation test method or any test cells. It was in 1979 that I joined the new ASTM F23 Protective Clothing Committee. We eventually developed a standard test method ASTM F-739, for measuring the permeation of hazardous liquid chemicals through protective clothing. At that time, Paul Pesce was providing and repairing laboratory glassware for our laboratory. After I explained the need to develop a standard glass permeation test cell he agreed to make test cells for the committee to evaluate and eventually use. In 1983 the F-23 committee met and voted to approve the first liquid permeation test method F739 and standard permeation test cell made by Pesce Lab Sales. This method and test cell were readily accepted and recognized internationally by protective clothing manufacturers and users of protective clothing. Users and manufacturers could do their own testing to evaluate the performance of potential barrier materials such as natural rubber, neoprene, butyl, nitrile, etc. to select glove and suit materials that were resistant to the hazardous liquid chemicals such as benzene, a carcinogen. The selection of barrier materials was made easier with data on the breakthrough time and permeation rate. Today, manufacturers provide permeation resistant guides with their products. There is a Quick Selection Guide available with over 1,200 chemicals listed with breakthrough times and permeation rates in its 7th Edition. From a small glassware company came a permeation test cell that provides users (workers) with testing for protection from hazardous liquid chemicals. Safety professionals and environmental health specialists are reducing the incidents of dermal exposure, one of the leading causes of injury in the workplace. For this reason, it is appropriate and important to recognize the contribution that Pesce Lab Sales has made to safety and health throughout the world. Pesce Lab Sales continues to make and offer the test cells and parts. My association with the laboratory and their business will eventually pass. However, before it goes I wanted to preserve the history and story behind the development of the cell and thank Pesce Lab Sales for their contribution to occupational safety and environmental health. For those who are interested you may want to visit the University of Delaware’s Lammont duPont Laboratory on the campus in Newark, Delaware where the original DuPont permeation test cell and the current F23-739 permeation test cell are on exhibit in display shelves. The display is open to the public and is free to view.
Norman W. Henry III MS, CIH, FAIHA, FASTM