Chemical Resistance of FR Garments

Treated flame resistant natural fiber fabrics such as 100% cotton and cotton blends wick moisture which adds to wearer comfort. They also absorb liquids and therefore provide no protection from chemical substances. NOMEX fiber exhibits very good resistance to many chemicals and NOMEX fabrics are often used when wearers are exposed to minor splashes of chemicals. In these cases the hazard is limited to a concern for the durability of the fabric. However, NOMEX fabric also does not provide personal chemical protection to the wearer. Large chemical exposures can easily penetrate the open weave fabric and reach the wearer's skin.

Heavier weights of fabric or different fabric constructions may provide very slight improvements in chemical penetration time. Nevertheless, specially designed laminated or coated fabrics are required for use in protective apparel where barrier protection against hazardous chemical penetration is required.

Bulwark offers a line of disposable chemical splash FR coveralls, lot number KDE4SB. This covering garment cannot be worn alone and must be worn over flame resistant protective clothing for thermal protection. It can be worn to provide limited protection against chemical exposure while performing specific tasks, such as transferring chemicals. If full time protection is needed, then one of the specialty chemical resistant garments will be required.

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How flame-resistant fabrics work

Flame-resistant (FR) fabrics and garments are intended to resist ignition, prevent the spread of flames away from the immediate area of high heat impingement, and to self-extinguish almost immediately upon removal of the ignition source.

Normal work apparel will ignite and continue to burn if exposed to an ignition source such as flame or electric arc. Everyday fabrics will continue to burn until they are extinguished or all flammable material is consumed.