ITS Campus, ITS News – The limited stock of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the form of Hazardous Materials (Hazmat) clothing in dealing with Covid-19 patients, triggered many entrepreneurs of the textile sector to grab the initiative and opportunity to make Hazmat clothing. However, not all materials are suitable, so in response to this, several lecturers from the Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology (ITS) analyze Hazmat clothing materials based on the known standards.
They are Dr. Eng. Hosta Ardhyananta S.T., M.Sc. (team leader), Dr. Widyastuti S.Si., M.Si., Azzah Dyah Pramata S.T., M.T., M.Eng., Ph.D., and Diah Susanti S.T., M.T., Ph.D., Ph.D., lecturers from the ITS Material Engineering Department. By forming a team, they perform material analysis on Hazmat clothing to make sure the requirements are met.
Dr. Widyastuti S.Si., M.Si., one of the team members explained that there were several standards used in making this Hazmat PPE. Among those are the standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Union (EU). Hazmat protective clothing must include the ability to filter hazardous material (hazmat) and include written information on the type of material, limits, validity period, size, compatibility, and others. “Even the daily clothing we use must include the type of material and method of washing, therefore the Hazmat’s protective clothing should also include it all,” she stated.
This lecturer, who is often called Widya, said that the Hazmat PPE material generally depends on the type of hazmat that is screened. Among these are polypropylene (PP) in the form of microfibers and polyethylene (PE) fibers as a protector against dry or wet particulates. Hazmat PPE sometimes also uses polyethylene or polypropylene layers as a protective and fluid barrier. Specifically for Covid-19 treatment, Hazmat clothing materials used by medical personnel must pass resistance tests for blood and body fluid penetration.
Widya continued that PPE material can be categorized into disposable and reusable. Usually, the information whether or not this PPE can be washed should be stated on the clothing. “If the information indicates that it cannot be washed again, then PPE must be discarded after use,” she emphasized.
Widya added that reusable PPEs are made up of plastic fiber polymer material woven fabric with large fibers. While disposable PPEs are made up of plastic polymer fiber material with nonwoven fabric with a small fiber.
Furthermore, Widya emphasized that comfort is also an important factor in making Hazmat PPE. This comfort can be measured by the rate of water vapor transmission or known as the Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate (MVTR). Simply put, the MVTR value is interpreted as the ability to pass air. There are several factors that affect the value of MTVR, from the type of material to the pattern of woven fabrics. “The higher the MTVR value, the higher the material’s ability to breathe,” she revealed.
She stated that based on the guidance from the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), PPE in Indonesia can be developed from alternative materials based on polyurethane and polyester. This material has been recommended by the American Chemical Society (ACS). ACS informs that a combination of fabric with polyester that fits the body has the ability to hold onto 80 to 90 percent of aerosol particulates, which measures up to 10 nanometers. “This polyester material is safe and has no potential to cause irritation to the skin, eyes, and the breathing process,” she elaborated.
Widya hopes that by paying attention to the correct standards in making APD Hazmat, this effort can protect medical personnel while on duty. “We must always prevent the spread of Covid-19, maintain health, and always pray that this pandemic will end soon,” she concluded hopefully. (dil/ory/ITS Public Relations)
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