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Due to risk of infection from bloodborne pathogens such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C, hypodermic needlesticks pose a life-safety risk to healthcare professionals, law enforcement officials, sanitation workers and others. A new ASTM International standard addresses the unique mechanics of hypodermic needle puncture as related to protective clothing. 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 needle stick, however, there has been no standardized test method available for technology developers and users to reference when conducting comparative analysis," says 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."
Cronin notes that environments in which needlestick-resistant personal protective equipment is needed are varied and dynamic and that no single standard can fully replicate the conditions to which this equipment is exposed. "However, ASTM F2878 addresses a critical gap in users' ability to look at overall personal protective equipment performance in a comprehensive way," says Cronin. "Users of needle-resistant personal protective equipment can now make an apples-to-apples performance comparison when evaluating various forms of protection."
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