ASTM International?s personal protective clothing and equipment committee (F23) has created a new specification for hospital isolation gowns (soon to be published as F3352). This standard outlines testing, reporting, performance, and labeling requirements to help those who make and use the gowns.
Healthcare workers and patients are often at risk of exposure to diseases. Selcen Kilinc-Balci, senior researcher at the National Personal Protective Technology Lab at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), explains, ?Engineering controls cannot eliminate all possible exposures, so protective clothing is crucial to reducing the potential for skin contact with microorganisms, blood, body fluids, and other potentially infectious materials.?
A workgroup within an ASTM International subcommittee (F23.40) found that out of 965 infection preventionists surveyed, 45% reported problems with punctures or tears of hospital isolation gowns, 31% reported rips and holes, 13% reported seam failure, and 8% reported worn-out fabrics. The group then worked with NIOSH to establish criteria for the new standard.
According to committee members, the standard could help gown manufacturers and designers, those who purchase gowns for hospitals, regulatory bodies, and healthcare workers and their patients.
The committee welcomes anyone to participate in improving the standard, including safety professionals, manufacturers, procurement officers, researchers, and end users. Visit www.astm.org.
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June 21, 2019