The new standard addresses "a critical gap" in the ability of end users to look at overall PPE performance, a committee member says.

New Standard Offers Test Method for Apparel Resistance

The ASTM F2878 standard addresses the mechanics of hypodermic needle punctures in protective clothing.

A new ASTM International standard will help risk managers and end users protect workers in various industries from the dangers of needlesticks. The risk of infection from bloodborne pathogens is real for health care workers, law enforcement officers, and sanitation workers, among others. The new ASTM F2878, Test Method for Protective Clothing Material Resistance to Hypodermic Needle Puncture, was developed by Subcommittee F23.20 on Physical, part of ASTM International Committee F23 on Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment.

"Over the past several years, a number of new protective equipment technologies have been developed to prevent needlestick. However, there has been no standardized test method available for technology developers and users to reference when conducting comparative analysis," said John Cronin, product manager at Warwick Mills Inc. and an F23 member. "With the publication of ASTM F2878, there is now an appropriate method for conducting comparative analysis of hypodermic needle puncture resistance."

This test method is used to determine the force required to cause a sharp-edged puncture probe (hypodermic needle) to penetrate through protective clothing material. The standard says three test probes may be used: 21-, 25-, or 28-gauge needles.

Needlesticks can occur in various dynamic environments, so no single standard can fully replicate the conditions where the apparel will be exposed to them, he said. "However, ASTM F2878 addresses a critical gap in users' ability to look at overall personal protective equipment performance in a comprehensive way," Cronin said. "Users of needle-resistant personal protective equipment can now make an apples-to-apples performance comparison when evaluating various forms of protection."

To purchase this or other ASTM standards, visit www.astm.org and search by the standard designation number or contact ASTM Customer Relations at 610-832-9585 or service@astm.org.

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