ASTM F2704 - 10

    Standard Specification for Air-Fed Protective Ensembles

    Active Standard ASTM F2704 | Developed by Subcommittee: F23.30

    Book of Standards Volume: 11.03


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    Significance and Use

    As with other hazardous materials protective ensembles, air-fed protective ensembles include clothing and equipment items needed for dermal and respiratory protection, including protective suits, gloves, footwear, and eye/face protection. Unlike other protective ensembles, air-fed protective ensembles do not use separate respiratory protective devices such as self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) or non-powered air-purifying respirators (APR's).

    Those types of respirators normally have a tight fitting face piece that provides inhalation hazard protection and dermal exposure protection to the face, eyes, nose, and mouth.

    Air-fed protective ensembles are worn without the use of a separate respirator. The entire suit serves as the respiratory protective device and also provides dermal exposure protection. The wearer breathes supplied air or filtered air pumped into the protective suit.

    Air-fed protective ensembles are used to protect workers in a number of applications.

    These include, but are not limited to: chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing, remediation of hazardous materials sites, use against highly infectious biological agents in BioSafety Level 4 laboratories, and for protection of workers involved in nuclear facilities, where it is possible radioactive particles will be encountered.

    The requirements of this specification have been partly based on the NFPA 1991 Standard, which establishes criteria for vapor-protective ensembles used in hazardous materials emergencies. NFPA 1991 establishes requirements for a protective ensemble that encapsulates the wearer and the breathing apparatus.

    In this specification, a breathing apparatus is not worn inside the suit, but instead breathing air is connected to the suit either via an external airline or respiratory protective equipment that is externally connected to the suit wall. Extensive criteria for the integrity of the overall ensemble are applied through design and performance criteria. This allows for different configurations of a protective ensemble that incorporates a hooded visor, protective gloves, protective footwear, and the respiratory protective equipment.

    The qualification of the respiratory protective equipment is addressed by the applicable requirements for respirators established in 42 CFR Part 84. As such, the entire air-fed ensemble is subject to certification by NIOSH in addition to meeting the requirements in this specification.

    This specification establishes classifications for the protective ensemble. The classifications include one that is determined by the configuration of the protective ensemble and one that concerns the use of the protective ensemble.

    A protective ensemble can be classified as a Airline Protective Ensemble or a PAPR-Based Air-Fed Protective Ensemble. Under each of these classifications, protective ensembles can be further classified as Limited Use and Multiple-Use.

    These classifications account for differences in the configuration of the air supply and material strength and durability. These classifications do not account for the decontamination effectiveness of multiple use ensembles.

    In recognition of the potential diverse applications to which the protective ensemble can be used, documentation requirements are provided for manufacturers to base claims for permeation resistance of ensemble materials against specific chemicals or for claims of ensemble material performance against bloodborne (or liquidborne) pathogens. Similar requirements are established for the respiratory protective equipment, when this equipment is based on the use of filters, cartridges, or canisters.

    An extensive section is provided in the specification addressing the certification of air-fed protective ensembles. This certification section is based on provisions established in NFPA 1991 and other National Fire Protection Association product standards for emergency services protective clothing and equipment.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This specification establishes design, performance, classification, documentation, labeling, and certification requirements for protective ensembles that deliver air to the wearer by means of an air line or powered air purifying respirator (PAPR).

    1.2 As a prerequisite to this specification, regulations within Title 42 Federal Code of Regulations, Part 84 are used to establish the conformance of the air-fed protective ensemble to respiratory protection requirements.

    1.3 This specification addresses protective ensembles used for environments involving chemical, biological, and radiological particulate hazards.

    1.4 This specification sets specific criteria for air-fed protective ensembles used to prevent exposure substances such as but not limited to chemical hazards, infectious microorganisms requiring Biosafety Level 4 protection, and environments where it is possible radiological particulates will be found.

    1.5 This specification can be used for classification of the protective ensemble.

    1.6 The values stated in SI units or in other units shall be regarded separately as standard. The values stated in each system must be used independently of the other, without combining values in any way.

    1.7 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    D751 Test Methods for Coated Fabrics

    D1630 Test Method for Rubber Property--Abrasion Resistance (Footwear Abrader)

    D1776 Practice for Conditioning and Testing Textiles

    D2582 Test Method for Puncture-Propagation Tear Resistance of Plastic Film and Thin Sheeting

    D3787 Test Method for Bursting Strength of Textiles--Constant-Rate-of-Traverse (CRT) Ball Burst Test

    D3884 Test Method for Abrasion Resistance of Textile Fabrics (Rotary Platform, Double-Head Method)

    D4157 Test Method for Abrasion Resistance of Textile Fabrics (Oscillatory Cylinder Method)

    D5034 Test Method for Breaking Strength and Elongation of Textile Fabrics (Grab Test)

    D5151 Test Method for Detection of Holes in Medical Gloves

    D5587 Test Method for Tearing Strength of Fabrics by Trapezoid Procedure

    F392 Test Method for Flex Durability of Flexible Barrier Materials

    F489 Test Method for Using a James Machine

    F739 Test Method for Permeation of Liquids and Gases through Protective Clothing Materials under Conditions of Continuous Contact

    F903 Test Method for Resistance of Materials Used in Protective Clothing to Penetration by Liquids

    F1052 Test Method for Pressure Testing Vapor Protective Suits

    F1154 Practices for Qualitatively Evaluating the Comfort, Fit, Function, and Durability of Protective Ensembles and Ensemble Components

    F1342 Test Method for Protective Clothing Material Resistance to Puncture

    F1359 Test Method for Liquid Penetration Resistance of Protective Clothing or Protective Ensembles Under a Shower Spray While on a Mannequin

    F1494 Terminology Relating to Protective Clothing

    F1671 Test Method for Resistance of Materials Used in Protective Clothing to Penetration by Blood-Borne Pathogens Using Phi-X174 Bacteriophage Penetration as a Test System

    F1790 Test Method for Measuring Cut Resistance of Materials Used in Protective Clothing

    F2010 Test Method for Evaluation of Glove Effects on Wearer Hand Dexterity Using a Modified Pegboard Test

    F2061 Practice for Chemical Protective Clothing: Wearing, Care, and Maintenance Instructions

    F2413 Specification for Performance Requirements for Protective (Safety) Toe Cap Footwear


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 13.340.30 (Respiratory protective equipment)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/F2704-10

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