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March 1, 2011

Chemical Protective Clothing

ISO 16602 offers a much-needed, common global language for expressing protective clothing performance

Susan Lovasic, DuPont

Chemical protective garments are available in a wide variety of fabrics and designs that provide varying levels of protection for chemical process industries (CPI) workers, who may be exposed to chemicals in the form of vapors, liquids and particles. While other forms of personal protective equipment — such as safety glasses and hard hats — are highly regulated in the U.S. and Canada, the performance of chemical protective clothing is not. An international standard for classifying chemical-protective-clothing performance, however, is available in ISO 16602. The ISO 16602 Standard (“Protective clothing for protection against chemicals — Classification, labelling and performance requirements”) provides an objective system to appropriately test, classify and label chemical-protective-apparel products. This article shows how ISO 16602 can be used as a tool to help with the selection of appropriate chemical protective clothing by providing an objective means of defining the performance of chemical protective apparel in situations involving potential exposure to chemical hazards....

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