Toxicological hazards that may be associated with the use of Protex®-based textile in a surgical-type face mask.
Chris Mackay, MSc, PhD, CPM, of Solutions in Science, indicated that great deal of research has been undertaken to examine the health risks associated with the use of textiles based on Protex® modacrylic fibers. Results of testing on these textiles have indicated that the amount of airborne material released is below limits of measure even after accelerated aging, and wear treatment. Similarly, leaching studies on Protex®-based textiles have shown no detectable transfer of materials from the fabric to water (as a surrogate for sweat).
Along with the lack of demonstrated potential exposure, toxicity studies on the constituents of the Protex® fiber indicates that associated health risk is very low. Oral and respiratory toxicity is well below even worst-case estimates of potential exposure for this type of use.
Furthermore, modacrylic is not likely to cause skin or eye irritation (not including abrasion) nor skin sensitization.
Chris Mackay, MSc, PhD, CPM, of Solutions in Science confirmed with reasonable confidence that a flame-retardant face mask composed of a Protex® modacrylic fiber-based textiles would pose no reasonable toxicological risk to the wearer from the presence of the Protex®. Studies on other Protex® fiber-based textiles used in apparel has shown that the level of materials (fibrous or otherwise) released would be insufficient relative to their toxicity to represent a health risk to the wearer under expected normal conditions of use for a face mask.
Comments could not be made on the general safety of the product specifically without knowledge of all constituents (dyes, finishes, other fibers) that were used in the manufacture of the textile.
Solutions in Science
Dear F18 Members:
F18.65.23 has been working diligently in response to creating suitable Flame Resistant (FR) Cloth Face Coverings (CFC). CFCs are made from fabric that has no tested value as medical Face Coverings used to protect employees from breathing in viral contaminants. However, Cloth Face Coverings (CFC) have been found to provide some reduction in transmission of biological hazards, such as COVID-19. Employees needing Face Coverings while exposed to arc flash hazards should not wear Face Coverings that can melt and drip or ignite and continue to burn. However, FR Cloth Face Coverings of this nature can be too small to meet the labeling requirement in ASTM F1506. In absence of guidance, manufacturers and users are creating cloth face coverings that may or may not meet these requirements. Because they cannot claim conformance to the ASTM F1506 in its entirety, there is no valid means to identify which face coverings meet all the other requirements of ASTM F1506 and which do not. The F18(20-02) ballot for Work Item 72625 will insert a clause into ASTM F1506 that exempts cloth face coverings from the current labeling requirements. A new clause will be inserted to reduce the amount of information that needs to be on the label and/or the FR cloth face covering.
Many users are inundating manufacturers with requests for products that will meet the recommendations of the CDC. There is an extreme need for this change to be published. If you have any questions or concerns that would cause you to vote negative, please contact me directly at 209-403-7261 or firstname.lastname@example.org so that I can fully explain the intent and meaning of the ballot wording before you vote. This is not, in any way. telling you not to vote negative. This is only to make sure the negative votes are cast with full understanding of the intent and meaning of the wording in the ballot and that the negatives are substantive issues that would preclude this from going forward. This urgent ballot is the first step to deal with this issue. There will be opportunity afterward to revise or improve the language and requirements.