Happy New Year and welcome to Norm’s Lab Corner 1st Quarter 2009. This quarterly publication is written and published on Pesce Lab Sales home web page for those individuals interested in permeation testing of protective clothing with ASTM test methods and permeation test cells supplied by Pesce laboratory. Both Rich Pesce and I also offer consulting services for those wanting to get started with permeation testing as well as providing a reference material to check and validate performance. I have been associated with Rich and his father’s business for about thirty years since we worked together through ASTM’s F23 Protective Clothing committee to design and make, through a voluntary consensus process, the first F739 method permeation test cell.

The past year has been busy for me both as an industrial hygiene consultant and actually doing permeation testing on clothing materials with a new substitute chemical for a chemical company in the process of phasing out of using a hazardous chemical for one of its major products. The testing was done in support of a pre-manufacturing notice requirement (PMN) to demonstrate that the selection of protective clothing materials would provide adequate protection to workers from dermal exposure to the new chemical. There has always been a need to identify, test, select and recommend appropriate protective clothing materials since it was recognized that not all clothing is impermeable to chemicals and that every worker is entitled to work in an environment free of potential harm, injury and disease. Thus, the need for permeation testing will always exist as new clothing materials are made, new chemicals are produced and dermal protection is required. Having the capability to test protective clothing materials gives you the opportunity to make appropriate recommendations for your workers to protective them from exposure.

So, what’s in store for protective clothing testing in 2009? Besides being a challenging year on the economic front with employment and financial woes, we hope to see some improvement and stability as our new president takes office later this month, hopefully with his stimulus package. Obviously, budgets will be tight and research and development in protective clothing testing and evaluation may be compromised, however we still need to continue our efforts to provide service and protect the health and well-being of workers. ASTM Committee F23 on Protective Clothing and Equipment will be meeting later this month in Atlanta, GA at the Hyatt Regency, January 27,28 and 28 to review test methods, update standards and consider new methods. On the agenda for the Chemical Resistance sub-committee, F23.30 will be getting a new source of the reference neoprene material to be used for inter-laboratory testing of the F739 test method. Also under consideration will be adopting the NIOSH Permeation Calculator to the test method procedure. As I mentioned in my 4th Quarterly column in 2008, NIOSH’s Personal Protective Technology Program will conduct a stakeholders meeting onMarch 3, 2009 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel at the Pittsburg airport. Presentation topics will include current and future personal protective technology research projects and an opportunity for discussion. For more information, check the cdcniosh.gov web site. That’s it for now.

Norm Henry