It’s the end of June and summer officially arrived and that means it is time for my third Lab Quarter article. Suffice it to say there has been very little protective clothing activity to report on since the last column. Both the AIHA Protective Clothing and ASTM F-23 Committees have met, but I have not seen their minutes posted on their web pages. With the down turn in the economy, participation in committee activities and travel has been restricted so that committee tele web conference calls seem to be the only means of communication. However, protective clothing research, development and testing still is being requested with new test chemicals and types of protective clothing materials.

I can report that Zack Mansdorf and I have completed an updated chapter to the Industrial Hygiene White Book on Protective Clothing, Chapter 35. This revised and updated chapter will appear in the 5th Edition of The Industrial Environment It’s Evaluation and Control, published for industrial hygienists by the AIHA. New to the chapter are updated standards for test methods (chemical, physical, biological) regulations, guidelines and information about protective clothing for nano-technology.

Unfortunately, there was a sad event that occurred in December this past year that involved the death of a laboratory research associate in an academic university that died from burns received from a pyrophoric chemical that splashed on her clothing and ignited causing serious burns. The worker was working with t-butyl lithium, a chemical that is spontaneously flammable in air, and was transferring it to a reaction flask in a syringe when it ignited, and seriously burned her arms and parts of her body that eventually caused her to die. An investigation into the incident revealed that she was not trained in to wear appropriate protective clothing and that she was not wearing adequate protective clothing at the time of the incident. Her life could have possibly been saved had she been wearing appropriate protective clothing. Once again we learn the hard way from from a preventable accident. Had the research assistant been wearing a fire retardant glove, gauntlet and laboratory coat she probably would have been protected. It is incidents like this that remind you to check on the chemicals you are working with and review recommended clothing materials based on test data.

There have been a few inquires about the permeation test cells and interchanging the challenge and collection chambers for gas and liquid permeation tests. Both Rich and I have attempted to help respond and provide our advice and recommendations. Hopefully, we have met your expectations. Remember that we are available to help select test cells, consult on equipment and suggest analytical techniques. Take care for now and have a safe, relaxing and enjoyable summer.

Norm Henry