Protective apparel fabrics designed to reduce dermal exposure during pesticide spraying procedures were evaluated relative to thermal comfort under sweating/high heat stress conditions. Preliminary results from field tests conducted in Florida were compared to thermal comfort predictions inferred from a battery of thermal tests on the fabrics.
The thermal battery consisted of thermal transmittance with simultaneous moisture transport, a profile of air permeability over a range of differential pressure, and a radiant temperature parameter introduced as the clothing radiant temperature. The performance of a fabric in each specific test was graded on a 10-point scale system. Higher points were awarded according to the fabrics' ability to relieve or lower heat stress associated with thermal discomfort. Individual and cumulative thermal comfort scores were compared to field test results. The effect of heat, moisture, and air transport on thermal comfort as inferred from the thermal test battery data provides a reasonable indicator of actual field study thermal comfort testing.