What are ASTM International (ASTM) Standards?
ASTM International is an international organization that sets standards for a wide range of products, materials, systems, or services that are used in our daily lives. These standards are designed to enhance people’s lives with improved performance while promoting safety and quality. It is open to anyone who wants to assist in creating or updating the standards for current industries.
ASTM standards do not only regulate face masks, they can also be applied to protective clothing.
Let’s take a look at the following ASTM standards for protective clothing.
“Standard Test Method for Resistance of Materials Used in Protective Clothing to Penetration by Liquids”
This test is used to evaluate protective clothing materials, assemblies, such as seams and closures, and interfaces used in their construction. This test method determines the resistance to visible penetration of the test fluid by placing the liquid in continuous contact on the exterior (exterior) surface. <1>
- The liquid is measured by putting it in constant contact with the exterior (or normal) surface of the specimen.
- The test method can be used to determine the conditions for keeping the liquid in contact with the specimen.
- This includes the duration of exposure and pressure. We offer suggestions on how to choose the right procedure for liquid contact.
Some specimens may be permeated by hazardous substances that have passed the penetration tests. To determine permeation, you can use Test Method F739 and F1383 for more sensitive analysis.
- This test does not consider the penetration of vapors through protective clothing.
- This test is not applicable for non-planar protective clothing materials or interfaces or assemblies, such as the fingertips and crotch of gloves. These are potential failure points.
- This test does not measure the liquid penetration resistance for full protective clothing or ensembles. For this purpose, use Test Method F1359.
- These values are to be considered the standard. The values enclosed in parentheses should be used only for information.
- This standard doesn’t address all safety concerns that may arise from its use. The user of this standard is responsible for establishing appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices, as well as determining the application of regulatory limitations, prior to its use. Section 7 outlines the hazards.
- This international standard was created in accordance with internationally recognized standards on standardization, as outlined in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides, and Recommendations of the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade Committee (TBT).
“Standard Test Method to Permeate Liquids and Gases Through Protective Clothing Materials Under Conditions of Continuous Contact”
This test measures the permeation rate of liquids and gases through protective clothing under continuous contact. <2>
- This test is for liquids or gases. It is not intended to be used if the liquid is volatile (that is if it has a vapor pressure of more than 1 mm Hg at 25,ºC), or soluble in water, or any other liquid that is not compatible with the clothing material.
- SI units have values states that are to be considered standard. The values given in parentheses do not represent exact equivalents.
- They are provided for informational purposes only.
- This standard doesn’t address all safety concerns that may arise from its use. The user of this standard is responsible for establishing appropriate safety and health practices and determining the applicability of regulatory limitations before use. Section 7 contains specific precautionary statements.
ASTM F1671/F1671M – 13
Standard Test Method for Permeation of Liquids and Gases through Protective Clothing Materials under Conditions of Continuous Contact
This test is used to determine the resistance of protective clothing materials to blood-borne pathogens. It uses a surrogate microbe and continuous liquid contact to measure this method. The detection of viral penetration is used to determine whether protective clothing material passes or fails. <3>
- This test is not always successful in testing protective clothing materials with thick inner liners that readily absorb the liquid assay solution.
- The test method is not applicable to all types of conditions of bloodborne pathogens exposure. The test method’s users should be familiar with the different modes of worker/clothing exposure to determine if the method is appropriate for them.
- This test is used to model the viral penetration of Hepatitis B and C and Human Immunodeficiency viruses transmitted in blood or other potentially infectious fluids. Protection from other pathogens should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
- This test only evaluates the performance of materials and certain constructions (e.g. seams) that are used in protective clothing. It is determined to be virus-resistant. This test does not consider the design, construction, components or interfaces of protective clothing or any other factors that could affect its overall protection.
- All values in SI units and other units must be considered separately as standards. Each system’s values must be used in isolation of the other. They cannot be combined.
- The standard does not address all safety concerns that may arise from its use. The user of this standard is responsible for establishing appropriate safety and health practices and determining the applicability and limitations of regulations before using it.
ASTM F1407 – 12/2017
Standard Test Method for Resistance of Chemical Protective Clothing Materials to Liquid Permeation—Permeation Cup Method
This method establishes a standard procedure to quickly determine the chemical resistance of protected clothing specimens in less than one hour. This test can be used to rank materials according to their suitability to use with liquids of unknown or known compositions. <4>
- Protective clothing materials with higher levels of chemical resistance can be identified by their breakthrough detection time, permeation rates, and cumulative permeation. Materials that have better resistance to chemicals will have longer breakthrough detection times, lower cumulative permeation and permeation rates.
- This test method is generally less sensitive than Test Method F739 when combined with sensitive analytical methods. The permeation cup method should not be used in cases where the chemical of concern can cause severe skin reactions. Use Test Method F739.
- Permeation of the clothing material must occur when the chemical has evaporated. This will allow for weight loss and detection of permeation. The test method might not work for low volatility chemicals (that is, those with low vapor pressure). It is unknown what the vapor pressure below which the test method is inapplicable.
Section 10 describes a procedure to assess volatility.
- This test method’s results are greatly dependent on the temperature at which they were conducted. All tests must be done at the same temperature (+-3 degrees C) if the goal is to compare different garment materials.
Standard Test Method for Permeation of Liquids and Gases Through Protective Clothing Materials Under Conditions of Intermittent Contact
This test is used to measure chemical penetration through protective clothing specimens under intermittent contact with a test chemical. Protective clothing may be contacted to chemicals intermittently in many cases, but not as frequently as Test Method F739. <5>
- This method is used to test flat specimens and seams of finished protective clothing, as well as materials that could be used for such purposes.
- Protective clothing can include gloves, sleeves, and aprons.
- “Specimens from finished articles” refers to seams and other discontinuous areas as well as continuous areas of protective clothing.
- Test seams are selected to represent the seams used in the principal construction of protective clothing items. They typically include seams of both base material and where it is joined to other materials.
- It may be useful to compare the permeation behavior under intermittent contact with continuous contact in some cases. For measuring permeation in continuous contact with the test chemical and the protective clothing specimen, Test Method F739 should be used.
- The key indicators of the resistance of clothing materials to the test chemicals are the breakthrough detection time, the standardized breakthrough time, and cumulative permeation. This information is used to compare clothing materials in order to select clothing that will protect you from harmful chemicals. More effective barrier materials have longer breakthrough detection times, standardized breakthrough times, and lower cumulative permeation than materials with higher permeation.
ASTM F1494 – 14
“Standard Terminology Relating to Protective Clothing”
This standard defines the terms that are used in Committee F23’s Protective Clothing Standards. <6>
- Definitions of Terms, which were drafted for use only in a single standard, are also included for convenient reference. Under ASTM rules they may become full definitions in the future if they are used in additional standards.
- Terminology D123 and D1566 provide additional terminology on protective clothing and the components of protective clothes.
“Standard Guide to Selection of Chemicals for Evaluate Protective Clothing Materials”
This guide contains a list of recommended challenge chemicals. It encourages chemical protective clothing users not to use as many chemicals as possible. This will allow you to easily compare data from different sources. Material developers and evaluators can use this guide to evaluate potential protective clothing materials. <7>
“Standard Guide to Documenting the Results from Chemical Permeation Testing Materials Used in Protective Clothing.”
This guide provides a template to document performance data and information in order to encourage consistent documentation for permeation tests. Uniform performance data is more likely to be used in the selection of the appropriate chemical protective clothing material (CPC). This allows direct comparisons of products. <8>
- ASTM F903 – 18 Standard Test Method for Resistance of Materials Used in Protective Clothing to Penetration by Liquids. (n.d.). ASTM. Retrieved August 17, 2021, from https://www.astm.org/Standards/F903.htm
- ASTM F739 – 12e1 Standard Test Method for Permeation of Liquids and Gases through Protective Clothing Materials under Conditions of Continuous Contact. (n.d.). ASTM. Retrieved August 17, 2021, from https://www.astm.org/DATABASE.CART/HISTORICAL/F739-12E1.htm
- ASTM F903 – 18 Standard Test Method for Resistance of Materials Used in Protective Clothing to Penetration by Liquids. (n.d.-b). ASTM. Retrieved August 17, 2021, from https://www.astm.org/Standards/F903.htm
- ASTM F1407 – 12(2017) Standard Test Method for Resistance of Chemical Protective Clothing Materials to Liquid Permeation—Permeation Cup Method. (n.d.). ASTM. Retrieved August 17, 2021, from https://www.astm.org/Standards/F1407.htm
- ASTM F1383 – 20 Standard Test Method for Permeation of Liquids and Gases Through Protective Clothing Materials Under Conditions of Intermittent Contact. (n.d.). ASTM. Retrieved August 17, 2021, from https://www.astm.org/Standards/F1383.htm
- ASTM F1494 – 14 Standard Terminology Relating to Protective Clothing. (n.d.). ASTM. Retrieved August 17, 2021, from https://www.astm.org/Standards/F1494.htm
- ASTM F1001 – 12(2017) Standard Guide for Selection of Chemicals to Evaluate Protective Clothing Materials. (n.d.). ASTM. Retrieved August 17, 2021, from https://www.astm.org/Standards/F1001.htm
- ASTM F1194 – 18 Standard Guide for Documenting the Results of Chemical Permeation Testing of Materials Used in Protective Clothing. (n.d.). ASTM. Retrieved August 17, 2021, from https://www.astm.org/Standards/F1194.htm