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 Post subject: Re: Re:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:48 pm 
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bbaumer wrote:
BISAM wrote:
I don't know how many folks we have wearing the Indura Ultrasoft FR pants. Probably somewhere around 100. Just a guess. Not heard of anyone reacting to them.


Just curious, you mention them wearing just the pants. We found it is the upper body that has more of a problem with the clothing and not the pants. Also our employer insists that the shirts be worn at all times even when running pipe and pulling wire on construction projects in the heat. I think we have about 60 people in the FR clothing, my guess at 10% seems a little low now come to think of it. A couple of our power engineers also mentioned problems. None of them would have brought it up if it were not for me being vocal about the uniforms. Our management took the tact that unless the person put it in writing there was no problem. And most people rather not complain after seeing I almost lost my job because of it.

So while wanting to inform people of what happened with us I was hoping to hear from others how they fair. After the initial revelation the manufacturer has not answered my questions. The original testing of the FR chemical has identified it as a skin sensitizer from animal testing but only one test was done on humans and the conditions of the test, were they done with people in full uniform of a patch of cloth stuck on a volunteer student? We found that the uniforms could be fine on an employee who is susceptible when they were cool and dry but not when they were hot and sweating. Even with me being the canary, I had a patch of fabric put on my arm by a Dermatologist and I had no reaction. Not enough of a dose.

I looked up an ex coworker who is now working for our local utility company. Their employees wear FR gear most of the time and he let me have a copy of their FR document which included a few pages in the back on the process to follow when an employee finds they have a reaction from the FR uniform. They have a few thousand people wearing the clothing every day. I made a request to talk to the health and safety department of the utility and got no response. So other than feedback from the guys I work with I don't have a lot of information to go by.


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 Post subject: Re: Arc Rated Clothing Causing Health Effects.
PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 12:52 pm 
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Neal did some research on the "insulating" properties of FR clothing...in this case whether or not it is a greater hazard in terms of heat exhaustion for instance compared to non-FR clothing. It appears from what I recall reading (that is in the 1500+ page justification for OSHA 1910.269) that the odd thing is that workers typically interpret heavier material as better for standard workwear but just the opposite for for FR. The data Neal put out suggests that the FR stuff is no more insulating than non-FR equivalents. The exception though is for multilayer FR PPE which obviously becomes more like winter wear and becomes a problem.

The rest of the arguments about comfort mostly have to do with how it is washed, rinsed, starched, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Re:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 2:09 pm 
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printer wrote:
bbaumer wrote:
BISAM wrote:
I don't know how many folks we have wearing the Indura Ultrasoft FR pants. Probably somewhere around 100. Just a guess. Not heard of anyone reacting to them.


Just curious, you mention them wearing just the pants. We found it is the upper body that has more of a problem with the clothing and not the pants.


Our standard long sleeve shirts are FR also. I don't recall the manufacturer name at the moment though. We get them from Cintas. Most guys wear cotton Tshirts in the summer and put on the long sleeve FR shirt or coverall when opening live equipment. Usually wear a cotton T under the FR shirt in the winter.


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 Post subject: Re: Arc Rated Clothing Causing Health Effects.
PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 8:24 pm 
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We use the Bulkwark EXCEL FR ComforTouch (treated cotton)as our standard shirt and us 'special' guys get to wear the CoolTouch clothing (nomex type of material). There is a noticeable difference between the heat retention of the shirts with the treated cotton feeling hotter and sweat does not seem to wick away as well. Our guys would love to wear a t-shirt and put on the FR when needed. Management seems to think we are children and will forget to put on the shirt when working on electrical. Not that any of them have any electrical experience.


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 Post subject: Re: Arc Rated Clothing Causing Health Effects.
PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2016 1:46 pm 
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printer wrote:
We use the Bulkwark EXCEL FR ComforTouch (treated cotton)as our standard shirt and us 'special' guys get to wear the CoolTouch clothing (nomex type of material). There is a noticeable difference between the heat retention of the shirts with the treated cotton feeling hotter and sweat does not seem to wick away as well. Our guys would love to wear a t-shirt and put on the FR when needed. Management seems to think we are children and will forget to put on the shirt when working on electrical. Not that any of them have any electrical experience.


The difference for us may be that all our skilled trades wear the same uniform IF they want our employer pay for their work clothes. Plumbers, carpenters, electrians, welders, garage mechanics. Employees can wear jeans if they want but have to buy their own. The company just standardized on all FR just to make it easier. The exception is the painters. They get white uniforms. The majority of guys wear the company supplied clothes just to save money.

I work at a university.


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 Post subject: Re: Arc Rated Clothing Causing Health Effects.
PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2016 8:18 pm 
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Used to work at a college before my current job. The real world does pay more, kind of wish I stayed in the college though.


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 Post subject: Re: Arc Rated Clothing Causing Health Effects.
PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:28 pm 
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Well over four has gone by since I first posted my question on reactions to uniforms in high heat situations and I have pretty much exhausted my search for an answer. The good news is I think I found the mechanism of injury caused by uniforms treated with Tetrakis Hydroxymethyl Phosphonium Sulfate. THPS is considered a skin sensitizer on MSDS sheets for the raw material but there is no information on its effect on people when bonded onto clothing. Where it is admitted that some people can suffer a reaction while wearing the clothing it has been attributed to an off gassing of formaldehyde. This seems to be just speculation as there has not been any other probable cause brought forward to explain the phenomenon.

In the early days of my investigation I stumbled upon a paper from a U.S. Army physician who had soldiers come down with what appeared to be Milliaria, more commonly called heat rash, while serving in Afghanistan. He ultimately attributed it to hygiene and improper washing of uniforms as there was not an overabundance of water to rinse the uniforms. Other than papers on various flame retardants there seemed to be no other information to help determine if THPS treated clothing was the cause of reactions some people had.

Another use for THPS in its aquatic form is as a biocide in water cooling towers and in the oil and gas industry. The oil and gas people has done much more testing of THPS than was done by the fire retardant community, after all much more money was at stake for them. They use THPS to remove slime buildup caused by bacteria from the inside of their piping as the bacteria steals electrons from the iron in the pipes. The short story is that this causes corrosion cracking resulting in oil spills. So they have a big interest in keeping their pipes clean. They have learned that THPS does not actually kill the bacteria but rather signals it to dislocate from the surface that it is clinging to. As the oil companies would rather pump oil through their pipes than THPS they did research to find out the most effective way to use THPS. They found that D-amino acid acts as a booster to the THPS and the concentration of THPS can be less. If it were not for the use of D-amino acid in their process I probably would not have found the relationship between the burning/itching feeling caused by THPS treated clothing.

In cool dry conditions there does not seem to be an issue for people that seem to get a reaction while wearing the treated clothing. It is only when people sweat in the clothing where it becomes a problem and the person feels Milliaria type symptoms. If one can entertain the thought, let us say that the person's sweat can wick some of the THPS from the clothing. And while we generally think of sweating as a one way street with sweat leaving our bodies let's entertain the idea that some of the sweat carrying THPS molecules finds its way back to our sweat glands. If this indeed is possible then we need some kind of mechanism to cause the sweat glands to get plugged.

It is a good time to explain Milliaria, Heat Rash, or as it is also called, Prickly Heat. It is a condition where the sweat gland gets plugged and the sweat is forced into the surrounding tissue. This results in the body's defense mechanism to become involved and histamine, adrenaline along with other substances is released into the skin. In searching medical papers on Milliaria I came across one paper that was key to my determining THPS as being the cause of the reaction some feel. The paper mentioned an earlier paper which had found the definitive cause of Milliaria. It seems that we have colonies of bacteria not only on our skins surface but also in our sweat glands. And the bacteria envelops itself with a biofilm in order to protect itself from harm. In the paper the author contributed the plugged sweat glands to the bacteria and its biofilm blocking the sweat gland.

So we have a chemical (THPS) that is used to dislocate slime covered bacteria, people who get a reaction similar to a condition which is a result of sweat glands plugged from bacteria and its biofilm (slime), the similarity between the two with the chemical THPS as the common link seems to be more plausible. Now if there was something more to relate the two situations we might give the theory some serious thought. And here we introduce our booster D-amino acid. Not only is it used by the oil industry it is also required by our bodies for healthy nerve function. Without it our sheathed nerves start to malfunction. Now if we can get the D-amino acid out of our sweat glands and in proximity of the THPS being wicked from the fabric we may just be able to signal the bacteria in our sweat glands to dislocate. And if the bacteria and its biofilm plug up the sweat glands we end up with Milliaria. The icing on the cake came to me when I found papers measuring the components of sweat from our bodies. One of the components measured was our nerve friendly molecule, D-amino acid.

So it really is quite simple, who would have thought it would take over a thousand hours over years of searching to come up with the relationship?


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 Post subject: Re: Arc Rated Clothing Causing Health Effects.
PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 2:27 pm 
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We've had problems but mostly they are related to the dry cleaner that occasionally doesn't get all the solvent out...you can obviously smell it. Home laundering solves the issue but obviously depending on work conditions may be less than desirable. I'm on the road a lot so turning in uniforms for laundering isn't exactly convenient most of the time.


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