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January/February 2010
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Clothing for Pesticide Application

The ability to provide the correct amount of protection is the most important element in any protective clothing worn by workers who apply pesticides as part of their jobs. While overprotection in hot climatic conditions can result in heat stress and low compliance, design-based requirements can result in too little protection as material performance plays a critical role in protective clothing.

In an attempt to find the right balance of protection, ASTM International Committee F23 on Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment has developed a new standard. F2669, Performance Specification for Protective Clothing Worn by Operators Applying Pesticides, is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee F23.30 on Chemicals.

According to Anugrah Shaw, Ph.D., professor, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and chairman of the task group that developed the standard, F2669 takes the level of potential risk for various scenarios into account in making recommendations for protective clothing.

“F2669 has three levels of protection that allow for selection of garments based on potential risk determined as part of the pesticide registration process,” says Shaw. “For example, it allows use of cotton and polyester/cotton coveralls similar to those used routinely by the crop protection industry in operator exposure studies and accepted by regulators as the basis for risk assessments and product registrations.”

Shaw notes that the key point of the new F2669 standard is that it allows the use of comfortable protective clothing when the potential risk is relatively low. “Two-piece suits that meet more stringent requirements can be used for scenarios where higher protection is required,” says Shaw.

The crop protection industry and government agencies responsible for worker protection and registration of pesticide products will be the leading users of F2669.

CONTACT

Technical Information: Anugrah Shaw, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, Md.

Phone: 410-651-6064

ASTM Staff: Stephen Mawn

Phone: 610-832-9726