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Chemical protective clothing (CPC) may be contaminated with chemicals during routine and emergency response operations. The contamination may be located on the surface or absorbed into the matrix of the plastic, rubber or fibrous components of the clothing. This study was undertaken to develop a cost-effective means for assessing the presence of chemical contamination in CPC. The procedure that was developed is based on a volatilization technique utilizing length-of-stain (detector) tubes as the method of detection. Swatches of a material, with their back and edges sealed, are placed in intimate contact with a garment. The swatches are exposed and decontaminated in-situ and then removed for analysis. The swatches are placed in a closed chamber at an elevated temperature and the air inside the chamber is analyzed using a detector tube. The feasibility of the technique was demonstrated in the laboratory and the field using more than 15 chemical/material combinations. A technique called dynamic thermal stripping was used to validate the laboratory results. The procedure is simple, applicable to essentially all protective materials and hundreds of chemicals and mixtures.
chemical protective clothing, turnout gear, decontamination, adsorption, detector tube, volatilization, polyvinyl chloride, Viton, ®, /chlorobutyl, Chemrel Max, ®
consultant, Arthur D. Little, Inc., Cambridge, MA
director, Arthur D. Little, Inc., Cambridge, MA
program manager, United States Fire Administration, Emmitsburg, MD