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5 Requirements You Should Know When Choosing An Ebola Protective Suit

Oct 14th 2014

Learn more about how to choose a cleanroom suit for your cleanroom lab, manufacturing facility, or other type of sterile environment.

Readiness for any inadvertent exposure to a potential Ebola patient starts first with the properly tested Ebola protective suit.  Improper personal protective suits expose the care giver to the deadly virus.  Special requirements for the protective coverall ensure infectious bodily fluids do not penetrate through the fabric, seams and zipper.

1)   Suits must pass blood borne pathogen penetration testing

When choosing a protective suit to combat Ebola Virus transmission, first and foremost, it must pass test methods for penetration by blood borne pathogens under conditions of continuous liquid contact.  It is very important to note that not all coveralls are equal in this regard.  If the prote ctive coverall is not tested against penetration by blood borne pathogens, it can give a false sense of security.  Internationally recognized tests include:

  • ASTM F1670  (ASTM International – American Society for Testing and Materials)

Standard Test Method for Resistance of Materials Used in Protective Clothing to Penetration by      Synthetic Blood.  This test method is used to evaluate the resistance of materials used in protective clothing to penetration by synthetic blood under conditions of continuous liquid contact.  Protective clothing pass/fail determinations are based on visual detection of synthetic blood penetration. Test Method addresses only the performance of materials or certain material constructions (for example, seams) used in protective clothing. This test method is a means for selecting protective clothing materials for subsequent testing with a more sophisticated barrier test as described in Test Method F1671.

  • ASTM F1671  Standard 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.

This test method is based on Test Method F903 for measuring resistance of chemical protective clothing materials to penetration by liquids.  Used to evaluate specimens from individual finished items of protective clothing includes gloves, aprons, gowns, coveralls, hoods and boots.  Body fluids penetrating protective clothing materials are likely to carry microbiological contaminates and visual detection is not sensitive enough to detect minute amounts of liquid containing microorganisms.  This test method has been specifically designed for measuring penetration of a surrogate microbe for Hepatitis (B & C) and the Human Immunodeficiency Viruses. The surrogate, Phi-X174 Bacteriophage, used in this test method is similar in size and shape.  This test method is used to measure the resistance of materials used in protective clothing to penetration by blood-borne pathogens using a surrogate microbe under conditions of continuous liquid contact.  Protective clothing material pass/fail determinations are based on the detection of viral penetration.

•  CE Certification

CE Mark is a mandatory conformity marking for certain products sold within the European Economic Area (EEA).  The CE marking is recognized worldwide even to people who are not familiar with the
European Economic Area.  All PPE Products must be CE marked.  Part of the examination process includes evidence of testing.
Type 5:  Confirms the ability to withstand fine dry particles.
Type 6:  Confirms the ability to withstand exposure to a light spray, liquid aerosols or low pressure, low volume splashes, against which a complete liquid permeation barrier (at the molecular level) is not required.

If the protective suit does not pass these tests, it is not acceptable material for use with biohazard medical applications.  Information on testing was sited from ASTM and CE Marking

2)   Ebola Protective Suit seams are very important

The best protective garments in the world are useless without strong, tight seams.  The protective suit must have the highest level of seam construction for biohazard applications to ensure there is no penetration of blood-borne pathogens.
Types of seams include:

  • Serged seams

  • Bound seams

  • Heat Sealed/Taped Seams

  • Ultrasonic Seam – Recommended for use in biohazard medical applications

3)   Protective Suits should have storm flaps with an adhesive closure

Coveralls should feature a storm flap over the front zipper with an adhesive closure for a secure fit.
A storm flap will prevent body fluids from touching the zipper and possibly transferring to the care givers body when removing the protective suit.

4) All-in-one suits should be supplemented with facial protection

The protective suit with attached hood should have an elastic opening for a tight seal around the face.  The attached skid resistant boots will provide additional protection.  The all in one Ebola protective suit leaves only the face open.  To finish off for total protection a respirator and full face shield would be added.

5) Sleeves should be extra long to secure around the wrists

Biohazard protective gowns should feature extra long sleeves with elastic cuffs.  The extra long sleeves allow the gloves to go over the garment with the elastic tight and secure around the wrists. For added protection a cuff sealer should be used to seal the garment sleeve to the glove.

Critical attention needs to be given when choosing an Ebola protective suit.  As you can see, simply wearing protective clothing does not ensure protection from viral penetration.  Protective suits will be the first line of defense but it is also up to the aid giver to put on and remove the suits correctly.  If the suit has been exposed to blood-borne pathogens and is incorrectly removed this may result in becoming contaminated and could potentially lead to Ebola Virus exposure.

Kappler’s ProVent 10,000 coveralls and gowns meet or exceed all of the requirements for Ebola protective suits.  Pictures supplied by Kappler.

To view styles and sizes of the Kappler products visit Clean Room World’s list of available Ebola protective suits in a variety of sizes.

About Cleanroom World:

Cleanroom World is a cleanroom specialist in Centennial Colorado