ANSI/ISEA 103-2010

American National Standard for Classification and Performance Requirements for Chemical Protective Clothing

ANSI/ISEA 103-2010 provides manufacturers, users, specifiers and regulators with a way to match a protective garment to a hazard environment.  It is the first US standard to address the protective apparel needs of workers who require protection from chemical hazards every day, not just in emergency situations.
The standard establishes a set of six hazard-based categories, and includes material and garment performance tests for each: 

  • Category 1 is a gas-tight chemical protective suit with an internal independent breathing air supply, such as a self-contained breathing apparatus, used where there is an immediate danger to life and health (IDLH), immediate skin hazard or contamination hazard, or unknown atmosphere.
  • Category 2 is a gas-tight chemical protective suit with an external independent breathing air-supply, used for responding to an IDLH hazard where the atmosphere is known, and not likely to contaminate the breathing apparatus.
  • Category 3 is liquid-tight full body chemical protective clothing, used in non-IDLH atmosphere where the main hazard is from contact with liquid or splash.
  • Category 4 is liquid spray-tight full body chemical protective clothing, used in non-IDLH situations where there is a potential for splash from liquids that are not immediately hazardous to the skin.
  • Category 5 is particulate-tight full body chemical protective clothing, used in non-IDLH situations where the major hazard is contamination from particles that present no hazard to the skin
  • Category 6 is limited spray-tight, full or partial body chemical protective clothing that offers protection for a particular part of the body from liquid penetration, such as protection for medical personnel from bloodborne pathogens.  
Within each category there are multiple performance levels for most properties.  This is consistent with the approach used in the European (CEN) and international (ISO) standards communities, and is one of the first attempts to harmonize testing and labeling of chemical protective clothing worldwide.
Performance tests are provided to evaluate garment integrity, depending on the level of protection needed and whether the contaminant is a gas, liquid or particulate.  Material tests evaluate liquid penetration and permeation, as well as burst and tear resistance, abrasion resistance, flex cracking resistance, resistance to ignition and flame resistance.  To comply with the standard, garments must be third-party certified.
User information in the standard includes a discussion of how to use the category system, a decision matrix, an explanation of how the required tests are related to performance and examples of hazard scenarios for each category.  

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