Body Armor Safety Initiative Summit Information > Answers
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We have heard that armor performance may degrade as a result of exposure to heat, moisture, light, and wear and tear. How does one know if the armor's performance may have degraded and may no longer provide adequate protection?
At this time, there are no definitive nondestructive test methods identified that can conclusively determine if a particular armor has been damaged to the point that it no longer provides an adequate level of ballistic resistance. Through NIJ's research effort, the development of a nondestructive test procedure for ballistic armor is anticipated. Armors that are known to have been exposed to excessive amounts of heat, light, moisture, and wear and tear should be carefully examined. If there are any obvious visual defects (e.g., the permanent cover on the ballistic insert has been breached, raw ballistic material is visibly exposed, evidence of significant "set wrinkles" in the panel), the armor should be taken out of service and replaced. Users should contact the manufacturer with any concerns regarding the performance of their armor.