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Test Results of Phase 2 Level A Suits to Challenge by Chemical and Biological Warfare Agents and Simulants: Summary Report

NCJ Number
Robert S. Lindsay; Alex G. Pappas
Date Published
77 pages
This summary report presented information on six Occupational Safety and Health Level A suit designs to determine their ability to protect in a chemical warfare (CW) agent or biological agent environment.
In 1996, the Department of Defense created the Domestic Preparedness Program. One of the goals of the program was to enhance Federal, State, and local emergency and hazardous material response to nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) terrorism incidents. The particular personal protective equipment (PPE) that would be employed by emergency responders depends upon the situation that they come across and the PPE the responders currently possess. This information could be used by emergency responders to create work rules for safe work limits for Level A suits and for future procurement of Level A suits. Level A suits are needed when the greatest level of skin, respiratory, and eye protection is needed, or when entering an unknown environment. This study evaluated six different commercially-available Level A suits. These suits were evaluated to determine how well they resist vapor permeation from liquid contamination by chemical agents Sarin (GB) and Mustard (HD) and droplet penetration by a corn-oil aerosol used to simulate biological or chemical particulates. These suits are tested in new, as received condition. The researchers tested swatches of material from each suit design for resistance to permeation for both GB and HD. The researchers then calculated the estimated time it would take to permeate the suit with sufficient agent to cause physiological effects in a suit wearer. The suits were also tested for their protection factor in an aerosol environment. Protection factor was defined as the ratio between the challenge concentration outside the suit and the measured concentration inside the suit. The report described the tests, calculated breakthrough times, and presented the results of overall protection factors. The appendices include: A) Level A Suits Chosen for Testing; B) Modified Static Diffusion Test Procedures; C) Aerosol Simulant Test Procedure; D)Kappler Responder Plus; E) Kappler Lifeguard Responder; F) Kappler Responder/NFPA Ensemble; G) Trelleborg Trellchem VPS; H) Trelleborg Trellchem TSE; I) Trelleborg Trellchem TBE; J) Overall test results.