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A thermal physiological comparison of two HAZMAT protective ensembles with and without active convective cooling



A thermal physiological comparison of two HAZMAT protective ensembles with and without active convective cooling



Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 41(6): 453-463



Wearing impermeable garments for hazardous materials (HAZMAT) cleanup can often present a health and safety problem for the wearer. Even short duration cleanup activities can produce heat-stress injuries in HAZMAT workers. It was hypothesized that an internal cooling system might increase worker productivity and decrease the likelihood of heat-stress injuries in typical HAZMAT operations. Two HAZMAT protective ensembles were compared during subjects' treadmill exercise. The different ensembles were created using two different suits: a Trelleborg vapor protective suit representative of current HAZMAT suits and a prototype suit developed by engineers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The two life-support systems used were a current-technology Interspiro Spirolite breathing apparatus and a liquid air breathing system that also provided convective cooling. Twelve local members of a HAZMAT team served as test subjects. They were fully instrumented to allow a complete physiological comparison of their theramal responses to the different ensembles. Results showed that cooling from the liquid air system significantly decreased thermal stress. The results of the subjective evaluations of new design features in the prototype suit were also highly favorable. Incorporation of these new design features could lead to significant operational advantages in the future.

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Accession: 045123304

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PMID: 10390696


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