While researching protective clothing,  I checked our parent company,  Texas America Safety Company,( and borrowed these charts that will be helpful to those who purchase protective clothing for their employees.  These figures may not be of interest to those who do not require this type of P.P.E.; however, I hope it will help others learn more about all the requirements and research that goes into keeping employees protected from the particular hazards they encounter in their every day jobs.

Industrial Standards

When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to be responsible for the health and safety of workers in and around areas of hazardous materials and contaminated waste, OSHA responded by formulating an all encompassing compendium of safety regulations that prescribe operating standards for all aspects of OSHA projects. Almost 2 million people are affected by the OSHA Standard today.In 1990, additional standards proposed and developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) were accepted by OSHA. NFPA Standard 1991 set performance requirements for totally encapsulated vapor tight chemical suits and includes rigid chemical and flame resistance tests and a permeation test against 21 challenge chemicals.The basic OSHA Standard calls for 4 levels of protection, A through D, and specifies in detail the equipment and clothing requited to adequately protect the wearer at corresponding danger levels.  
  Level A represents the greatest danger of respiratory, eye or skin damage from hazardous vapors, gases, particulates, sudden splash, immersion or contact with hazardous materials. It calls for total encapsulation in a vapor tight chemical suit with self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) or supplied air and appropriate accessories. Level A chemical protective clothing can also be manufactured to meet NFPA 1991 specifications.
  Level B situations call for the highest degree of respiratory protection but a lesser need for skin protection. It calls for SCBA or positive pressure supplied air respirator with escape SCBA, plus hooded chemical resistant clothing (overalls and long sleeved jacket; coveralls; one or two piece chemical-splash suit; or disposable chemical-resistant coveralls.

Glossary of Terms

Polypropylene – A breathable material used for non-hazardous environments. Provides protection against dry particulates, paint, and light chemicals.

Tyvek – A material that provides protection in all kinds of industrial applications. Provides an excellent barrier in light splash situations, and dry particulates such as asbestos, lead dust and radioactive dusts. Also provides protection in food processing and painting.

Tyvek QC – Polyethylene coated. Provides excellent lightweight splash protection from many acids and other liquid chemicals, and pesticides.

PE Coated – A polyethylene coating which provides lightweight industrial chemical protection. Not suggested for use with extreme chemicals.

Tychem 9400 – A tough, durable, tear-resistant material which provides excellent protection against a broad range of chemicals.

Tychem SL – A lightweight fabric providing effective and economical protection against a broad range of industrial chemicals, including those used in agriculture and petroleum markets.

Vinyl Aprons, Hemmed – Made of high quality virgin vinyl resistant to acids, alkalis, solvents, chemicals, oils, fats, grease and salt. Provide reliable tear, abrasion and puncture resistance. Used in food processing, meat packing, assembly, restaurant work, and industrial maintenance.

Unhemmed Aprons – Identical to the above, but unhemmed. Used mainly with food processing, industrial maintenance, and other hygienic applications. Unhemmed are more economical.

Die-cut Aprons – Provide medium-duty splash protection and flexibility in industrial applications. Neck straps and tie straps are incorporated in this one-piece design making it even more economical.

Urethane Aprons – These aprons are lightweight, long lasting and very economical where water splash is likely. Ideal for food processing and heavy industrial abrasion areas.

PVC Aprons – Made from a thick 20 mil. PVC material. Used in rigorous work environments. Recommended for use in aircraft production, or battery manufacturing.

Hycar Aprons – Nitrile blend provides reliable abrasion and cut resistance for longer protection against oils, fats, chemicals, acids and grease. These rubber protective aprons can withstand the deteriorating effects of animal fats and greases while remaining flexible in cold environments.

Particulate Holdout – The filtration efficiency of a material, measured by the number of particulates per 100 that can be pulled through the material. Reported for 2 micron size particles.

Penetration Resistance – Material resistance to liquid penetration is measured using ASTM F903 – the outside surface of the material in question is exposed to the test chemical for one hour.

Permeation Resistance – ASTM F739 is used to measure the permeation resistance of materials. Permeation is the molecular movement of chemicals through a material. If exposure to chemical vapors is a concern, this data should be analyzed.

Tensile Strength – The force required to break a material apart by pulling it from opposing directions. Measured in pounds and is reported in two directions.

Burst Strength The force required to break through a material.

  DuPont Tyvek® DuPont Tyvek® QC DuPont Tychem® SL
DuPont Tychem® BR
Basis Weight
(ASTM D3776-85; oz./yd.)
1.2 2.1 3.1 5.3
(ASTM D1777; mils)
5.3 6 7.1 21
Strip Tensile
(ASTM D1682; MD lbs./in./CD lbs.)
Work to Break
(ASTM D1682; MD in.-lbs./CD in.-lbs.)
Tongue Tear
(ASTM D2261; MD lbs./in./CD lbs./in.)
Breaking Strength–Grab
(ASTM D1682-64, Sec. 5.3; MD lbs./CD lbs.)
  25/35 43/45 99/95
Mullen Burst
(ASTM D3786-87; psi)
  66 65 190
Tearing Strength–Trapezoid
(ASTM D1117-80; MD lbs./CD lbs.)
  7//5 11//10 25/24
(CS-191-53; Section 1610)
Class 1 Class 1 Class 1 Class 1
Shelf Life
5 10 4 10
Dry Particulate DuPont Tyvek® Limited Excellent barrier to many harmful dry particulates including asbestos, lead dust, glass-reinforced fibers and radioactive dusts.
  Polypropylene Limited Greater breathability than Tyvek, but not the same protection. Use for non-hazardous, low-linting applications; i.e. non-toxic spraying.
Chemical Protective Polycoated Du Pont Tyvek® QC Limited Tyvek which has been “quality coated” with 1.25 mils polyethylene. Offers splash protection against many inorganic acids, bases and other liquid chemicals.
  Dupont Tyvek®/Saranex® 23-P Limited A laminate of Dupont Tyvek® and Saranex 23-P film. Offers an effective barrier against a broader range of chemicals than polycoated Tyvek.
  Dupont Tychem® BR
Limited Excellent chemical resistance against a broad range of chemicals. Strong and durable, and offers the low cost, convenience and safety of a limited-use fabric. Used in Haz- Mat, industrial & other chemical applications.
  Hycar Reusable Nitrile rubber offers excellent chemical resistance and maximum wear.
  Vinyl Reusable Withstands fats, grease & cold; comfortable.
Cut & Abrasion Denim Reusable Abrasion resistant.
  Hycar Reusable Nitrile rubber; excellent wear.
  Du Pont KEVLAR® (knit & weave) Reusable Excellent cut resistance.
General Purpose Denim & Cotton Reusable Multi-purpose use.
  Poly Cotton Reusable Multi-purpose use.
  Leather Reusable Multi-purpose use.

Hopefully, these charts from Texas America Safety Company will answer questions you have regarding the most suitable protective clothing.  Once you have made your choice, training and proper maintenance of the PPE should be mandated.  T.A.S.C.O. can answer your questions about the right selections in all types of safety wear; and, remember, if you mention Blog4Safety with an order, you will receive a 5% Discount!


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