The evaluation of chemical protective clothing (CPC) designs, design features, performance, and applications requires an understanding of the types of chemical protective clothing available for protection. The types of chemical protective clothing available in the marketplace and thus the choices available to the end user have changed dramatically over the past two decades and continue to increase in diversity. Chemical protective clothing exists in a variety of designs, materials, and methods of construction, each having advantages and disadvantages for specific protection applications. End users should have an understanding of the different types of chemical protective clothing and their features in order to make appropriate selections. It is important to realize that chemical protective clothing that appears to be similarly designed may offer significantly different levels of performance. Thus chemical protective clothing performance must be carefully scrutinized in addition to design and features. Furthermore, CPC must be properly sized to provide adequate protection. Improperly sized or ill-fitting chemical protective clothing may reduce or eliminate protective qualities of CPC.

Chemical protective clothing can be selected properly only when performance data indicate that resistance to chemicals lasts for the duration of anticipated, worst-case exposures. Relating chemical performance directly with possible exposures mandates a need for rigorously tested protective clothing. This clothing must also demonstrate acceptable integrity for overall protection and provide sufficient strength, durability, and physical hazard resistance. In addition, chemical protective clothing must be functional allowing the wearer to safely perform the required tasks at an acceptable level of comfort.

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