Fall is here, football season is in full swing, the World Series will begin this week, the presidential election is next month and its also time for my 4th quarterly column. There is excitement in the air and apprehension as this year winds down. It’s been a year of change for me with my retirement from DuPont, but I have adjusted and continue to be involved in technical protective clothing activities both with ASTM Committee F23 and the AIHA protective clothing committees. This summer I received recognition from the AIHA protective clothing committee for my contributions to their best selling Chemical Protective Clothing book and a chapter on protective clothing in their White Book, The Industrial Environment, It’s Evaluation, Control and Management (AIHA Press) 2004. I also participated in two ASTM technical committee meetings and am currently working on a draft standard method for radiological clothing (lead equivalency test method). Just this week I received a copy of another book, Protective Gloves for Occupational Use, 2nd Edition. Boman and al., CRC Press. in which I authored a chapter on U.S. Rules, Regulations and Standards for Gloves. I should also call your attention to a recently published article by Jeff Stull,”A Suggested Approach to the Selection of Chemical Protective Clothing-Meeting Industry and Emergency Response Needs for Protection Against a Variety of Hazards,” published in the International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics (JOSH), 2004, Vol. 10, No.3, 271-290. This provides a decision logic for selecting protective clothing for a variety of hazards and should be beneficial to our hazmat and emergency responders. Also, on international standards development I would like to report that ASTM International and the Standards Administration of China (SAC) have signed a memorandum of understanding for collaborative standards development. Like CEN, ISO and other international organizations this should facilitate harmonization of standards globally.

On the technical side, I have done consulting work for Texas Tech University and just last week gave a presentation on the selection of chemical protective clothing to the joint Chesapeake/Potomac local AIHA section’s professional development conference. One the questions that I am frequently asked is what is the basic equipment needed to do permeation testing? So, I thought I would try to answer that in this column. At a minimum you obviously need at least one ASTM permeation test cell (1 or 2 inch). Depending on your test needs you can select either the submersible or standard cell for either gas, vapor or liquid testing. For gas or vapor testing, I recommend a portable gas chromatograph or infra-red detector for analytical devices. For liquid testing, using a wet analytical method a standard spectrophotometer can be used if a color reaction takes place. More sophisticated chromatographic and spectrophotometric methods can be added with automated sampling procedures to improve detection and duplicate samples. Consideration should also be given to closed loop or open loop testing. The open loop system is more adoptable to automated analyses particularly with gas chromatographic systems where a carrier gas can be diverted through the sampling chamber of the test cell. For a more complete description of the permeation test method and analytical procedures I recommend that you review the latest version of ASTM F739 test method just published in their Annual Book of Standards,2004,Section11,Volume 11.03,Atmospheric Analysis,Occupational Health and Safety, Protective Clothing, pages 1299-1309. You can also visit the ASTM web site (astm.org) Finally, once you get started, I recommend that you at least obtain the standard 16 mil. Neoprene reference standard, available from Pesce Lab Sales and try to do permeation tests with acetone to compare your results with those reported in the interlaboratory testing.

Well that’s all I can think for now, but if you have questions please contact Rich Pesce or me and we will try to help with permeation needs and questions. Take care, remember to vote and enjoy the holidays.