Spring is here and outdoor chores beckon our attention. The winter ASTM Committee F23 meeting in Anaheim, California has past and plans for the June meeting are being made. There was not much to report on from the winter meeting except for revisions to several standards and negatives submitted on balloted items for F739, F1359, F 1461, F2061 and F2588. F739 needs to be considered for Main ballot now as it is at its seven year limit. If you recall from my last column this method was to include changes in using the one inch permeation test cell, updated reference permeation data from round robin testing for quality control and a NIOSH computer program for calculating permeation data. We will have to wait until the next meeting of F23 scheduled June 24 – 29 at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Marriott in Norfolk, Virginia to find the outcome of negative responses. Two other items discussed and considered at the winter meeting were agricultural workers clothing and the possibility of developing a standard for a full suit for chemical/biological needs.

As for the tritium permeation work that I did a year ago at the Savannah River National Laboratory in Georgia, I have finally received some pictures of the permeation cell set up shown below.

Testing was done in a specially contained hood continuously monitored for tritium leaks and contamination. Three test cells were used to do testing in triplicate plus one control test cell. Tritium eventually broke through all three suit materials tested as detected by analyzing aliquots of aqueous samples collected from the collection side of the cells for tritium using a liquid scintillation counter calibrated with tritium standards. A final report will be issued at the end of this month. The intent of the study was to determine if new coated suit materials offered the same degree of protection from tritium permeation as older stored suits that had previously been tested for tritium breakthrough.

Other news that I have learned is that the 5th Edition of the “Quick Selection Guide to Chemical Protective Clothing” is being published in time to be available for the AIHce Conference, June 2-5 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Both Zack Mansdorf and Kristin Forsberg are authors of this guide which has the latest in updated permeation data on manufacturer’s protective clothing. This new addition has additional permeation data on over 600 different chemicals. It is a handy reference for selecting appropriate gloves and suit materials for PPE hazard assessments required by OSHA.

Speaking of OSHA and hazard assessments, I should inform you of regulatory developments on finalization of OSHA’s “Employer Payment for Personal Protective Equipment” rule (HR 1372) currently being reviewed in Congress. This rule if enacted would require employers to pay and provide PPE at no cost to employees. While most employers currently provide PPE, OSHA’s finalization of this rule will clarify the responsibility of the employer and ensure better protection for all American workers. It is expected that this rule will be enacted this fall.

Norm Henry