Change is in the air. Cool nights and shorter days are approaching. Schools have opened, football season has started and baseball playoffs are being decided. It is also time for my fourth quarterly protective clothing column. The year has gone by fast and has been relatively uneventful except for some changes to ASTM’s Protective Clothing Committee F-23. The major change has been to change the title and scope of Committee F-23 to Protective Clothing and Equipment. This change reflects the committee’s interest in broadening the development of test methods, guides, practices and specifications for protective clothing to include equipment attached to or integrated with full body protection. Items such as hats, hoods, shrouds, masks, gauntlets, over sleeves, vests, chaps, booties and boots are examples of some of the equipment. Gloves have always been considered protective clothing and will continue to be within the scope of F-23 despite some overlap with ASTM’s Committee D-11 on Rubber. This change also is being driven by the individual makeup of committee members with safety expertise in protective equipment besides protective clothing. Another factor contributing to this change has been NIOSH’s research focus and funding for both protective clothing and equipment at their National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory in Pittsburg, PA. For those interested, NIOSH and the CDC have scheduled an open public meeting for October 12, 2006, 8:30 am – 4:00 pm in Pittsburg, PA to discuss current and future research projects on protective clothing and equipment.. The web link for this public meeting is http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/pressrel/letters/lttr-101206.html With NIOSH’s research and ASTM’s standardization process a collaborative effort in both clothing and equipment will be more cost effective and beneficial for user’s whose safety and health are dependent on the performance of components of protective clothing and equipment.
Changes have also occurred this past year in responding to test method proposals and inquiries. While Pesce Lab Sales offers testing services, guidance, permeation cells and equipment, we are limited to actually doing work without a laboratory facility or specific analytical equipment. The best we can offer is to write a proposal to come to your facility and do testing with the test materials you want evaluated, your analytical equipment and procedures. This is cost effective because we can use your existing methods and facilities without developing or contracting out analytical services. Another advantage is that in the process you can be trained to do future testing with purchased test equipment. This has worked well for the tritium permeation study that I did for Savannah River’s National Laboratory in South Carolina earlier this year. Consulting services are also available for a fee for time and information search of existing permeation data. One new consulting area for permeation testing has been in the pharmaceutical industry where drugs or “potent chemicals” in developmental stages of research and evaluation need to be tested with gloves. Eventually, pharmacists, nurses and healthcare professionals handling these drugs will need glove recommendations. While we might not have the capability to purchase these drugs for testing, we do know of laboratories capable of analyzing them. So we are trying to meet your needs and look forward to the coming year providing you with our permeation test services.