Welcome to the summer edition of Norm’s Lab Corner 3rd Quarter 2011. I have just returned from a week’s vacation at the Jersey shore, hence the delay in publishing this issue. Summer is a time to relax, enjoy the sun and have fun, but it is also the time to consider plans for the remainder of the year. Since my last column ASTM F23 and AIHA protective clothing committees have met and set their goals and identified projects and plans for the remainder of the year. One of the most important challenges for ASTM committee F23 on protective equipment is to identify a reference material for the F 739 Permeation Test Method so that users can participate in an inter-laboratory round robin test for a precision and bias section in the method and also use this material to check their own capability to perform permeation tests independently. As you recall from my last column, the standard reference 16 mil neoprene is in limited supply and not available to users, yet requests keep coming in for samples. Committee F23.30 on Chemical resistance has responsibility for the F739 permeation test method and is aware of this problem and at their recent June meeting is soliciting volunteers to participate in the round robin using Mylar or some other reference material that has a longer breakthrough time than neoprene, is stable with time and also readily available.

In the mean time, I have would like to suggest that users who want to check the permeation test method with a reference material consider contacting one of the glove manufacturers about permeation data they have on their neoprene glove for acetone. Most manufacturers have permeation guides for their products and list breakthrough times and permeation rates for their products using the F739 test method. Many manufacturers, I am sure would be willing to supply a glove or two to use for your own validation of the test method. You could compare your data to theirs to see if there is good agreement. You should expect your results to be at least within 20% of their published values. This is at least a temporary way to check your permeation test system until another reference material is selected by the ASTM F23.30 committee. This is only a suggestion for now, but would enable users to at least get started with a stable available test material.

The AIHA protective clothing and equipment committee met in May and so far has been busy making plans for professional development courses, presentations and upgrading existing training programs for protective clothing. One of their accomplishments is the completion of revised updated Chapter 23 on protective clothing in the industrial hygiene White Book now in its third edition. This chapter written by Zack Mansdorf and myself gives a comprehensive overview of protective clothing for chemical, biological and radiological hazards in the workplace with many references to regulations, standards, test methods and training programs.

Finally, I want to assure you that Pesce Lab Sales is committed to providing you information on the permeation test cells, supplying test cells and answering questions you may have on methods and test systems. Rich and I are actively involved in ASTM F23 activities. I plan to participate in the ASTM F23 round robin test and am currently doing permeation testing. So if you have questions please contact Rich by email at Pescelabsales .com. I also plan to write future quarterly columns on potential uses of the permeation test cells for other materials besides protective clothing and share my personal experiences with techniques and analytical methods that can be utilized to determine permeation resistance.

Norm Henry