Happy New Year, I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and are ready for the challenges ahead in 2011. It is already mid-way through January and old man winter has provided both snow and low temperatures particularly in the South, North and Mid-West. We still have a couple of months to go, so bundle up in your warm winter clothes.

As I have mentioned in my previous Lab Corner editions all has been relatively subdued in terms of protective clothing standards development, research on new clothing materials, regulatory issues, publications and technical committee meetings to discuss or solicit future protective clothing performance needs and programs. While nano- technology seems to be the focus of research and development strategies, little has been done on testing the performance of clothing materials for barrier resistance to penetration or permeation of these particles. One area that has kept me busy as a consultant is doing permeation studies on clothing materials to be used to protect workers from exposure to chemicals being manufactured or products being made internationally. The EPA is also requesting protective clothing tests to help users select appropriate clothing (gloves and suits) for registration of new chemicals to be used in different countries, particularly agricultural products applied to various crops. While most of the existing protective clothing performance data is from clothing or gloves used in the United States, many of the European and Asian countries would like to test and use their own clothing products using the ASTM test method. Thus, there has been influx of requests for permeation test cells so that they can do their own testing. Rich Pesce has received several inquiries from various countries about purchasing test cells and equipment to do permeation studies.

Speaking about Rich, I do want to report that both he and I plan to attend the next ASTM F23 Committee meeting on protective clothing to be held in Baltimore, MD February 1- 3, 2011 at the Marriott Water Front Hotel in downtown Baltimore. We plan to attend the F23.30 committee meeting on Chemicals scheduled for Thursday, February 3 from 8 am to 12 pm. As attendees we want to express our concern about supplying the neoprene reference material to potential users who want to check out their permeation test systems. This material has been used for many years as a reference for inter-laboratory quality control, but recently it has not been available and the ASTM committee needs to establish another reference material. We also have some editorial corrections to ASTM Method F 1194-99 on Standard Guide for Documenting Results of Chemical Permeation Testing of Materials Used in Protective Clothing. Perhaps you can attend and we can get together and discuss any permeation test needs?

Norm Henry