Spring is here with April rain, sun, colorful flowers and of course baseball. We moved our clocks ahead an hour and must file income tax forms by April 15th. It’s a busy time of year to clean yards, houses and put away those winter clothes. I’ve been busy too, moving my daughter to a new home and replacing my old computer that died last week. Actually, I am writing this column using her computer until my new one arrives next week. Oh, the joys, frustrations and dependency we have with computers.

The first quarter of this year has been relatively quiet in the protective clothing field. Rich and I have had a few calls on permeation test cells, their application for use and how to set them up with analytical instrumentation. As I mentioned in the 1st Quarter Column, Rich and I have entered into an agreement to offer consulting services on permeation testing, This service includes on site visits to help with setting up a permeation test system and actually doing permeation and for you as well. I am also on call to answer questions and consult with you regarding materials for testing, automated test systems and standards development.

Currently, ASTM Committee F23.30 on Chemicals is conducting another round robin test using the new ILS (Inter-laboratory System) proposed by ASTM last year to help expedite precision and bias statements associated with test method development. Samples of the standard 16 mil neoprene reference material are available from Pesce Lab Sales and ASTM would like as many labs to participate as possible. It does not cost to participate in the testing and your results would help in assessing the F739 Permeation Test Method performance. If you are interested, please contact us at Pesce Lab Sales or ASTM directly at their Headquarters in Philadelphia. You can also log onto astm.org and search for ASTM technical committee F23 for more details.

The next ASTM F23 committee meeting is scheduled for June in Reno, Nevada. At the meeting new committee officers will take over, awards will be presented and technical subcommittees will review proposed standards and specifications for protective clothing. There has been a lot of interest in guidance documents on protective clothing, particularly for agents of mass destruction, bioterrorism and emergency response. Other areas of interest include radiological protective clothing and protection from nanoparticles. ASTM just announced the formation of a new technical committee on Nanotechnology, E-56 where I am sure that F23 will want to have some representation to have input on appropriate test methods for testing nanoparticle penetration through clothing and glove materials. I would encourage you to attend this meeting and other ASTM Committee F23 meetings so that you have input in the proposed standards or else you may find yourself following someone else’s standards. Hopefully, I’ll see you there and by then I should be up and running with my new computer.