Answering the Call for Advanced Protection
In response to the current COVID-19 outbreak, Blauer Manufacturing’s BIO-99™ NFPA 1999 Multiple-Use Certified Coverall offers advanced resistance to viral and blood-borne pathogens.
By Tom Ames, Vice President, Mktg & Business Development, Blauer
From S&B and CST/CBRNE, Fall 2020
The global COVID-19 pandemic that erupted in March of this year starkly demonstrated two key points with regard to the nation’s personal protective equipment (PPE) stockpile and posture for biological threats like the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The first is that traditional U.S. supply chains for medical PPE, largely sourced from overseas producers, are not adequate or stable enough to continue reliance on. During pandemic emergencies, the countries these suppliers operate in often limit export of PPE because it is needed just as urgently at home. Further, when secondary sources in these countries pivot production to medical PPE to meet surge demand, the quality and protective properties of the product are often insufficient for its intended use. This is evidenced by the recent media coverage of PPE shipments that have been confiscated at port due to improper labeling or subpar performance and design flaws. The second point is that the quality and fitness for intended use of PPE for COVID-19 response varies greatly, and in many cases center on certifications that don’t address critical performance measures such as viral penetration resistance. Blauer Manufacturing’s new BIO-99™ Coverall is Berry Amendment compliant, produced in the USA with 100% domestically sourced fabric and components, commercially launderable between uses, and 3rd party tested against the ASTM F1671 test method for resistance of materials to penetration by blood-borne pathogens as a requirement for its certification to the NFPA 1999 Standard on Protective Clothing and Ensembles for Emergency Medical Operations (multiple-use).
Partnering for Critical Protection
Blauer began development of the BIO-99 Coverall in April 2020 when it became clear that the supply of PPE such as isolation gowns needed for COVID-19 response was in short supply and received formal certification to the NFPA 1999 standard as a multiple-use garment from Safety Equipment Institute in late May. The certification marked the successful conclusion of an expedited development effort on the part of Blauer’s design team and W. L. Gore & Associates to commercialize a reusable, breathable and highly protective coverall made with GORE® CROSSTECH® fabric suitable to wear for COVID-19 response. The BIO-99 is the first viral resistant coverall certified as a garment to the rigorous multi-use requirements of the NFPA 1999 Standard for First Responders and can be paired with a wide variety of respiratory PPE. The BIO-99 Coverall offers a significantly higher level of viral penetration protection than disposable isolation gowns or PPE rated to AAMI PB70 for Levels 1, 2, and 3. NFPA 1999 certified PPE must meet the performance requirements of ASTM F1671 for resistance to viral penetration. Isolation gowns or coveralls rated to AAMI PB70 for Levels 1 through 3, as are commonly used for COVID-19 response, are not tested for viral penetration performance. They are only tested for various degrees of water resistance with AAMI level 3 rated garments qualified to offer only “moderate water resistance”. The ASTM F1671 test method used to qualify the viral penetration performance of the BIO-99 Coverall uses water pressure roughly three times the pressure used for AAMI Level 3 testing with liquid that has a surface tension 42% lower than the water used in AAMI Level 3 testing and requires 100% waterproofness.
Prepared for Future Need
The increased level of protection, domestic production, 20-year shelf life, and rating for numerous commercial launderings between uses makes Blauer’s BIO-99 Coverall an excellent contingency supply supplement to disposable PPE stockpiles that program managers can rely on to ensure continued operations in the event of PPE shortages during pandemic scenarios.
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