Several fluid-resistant and impermeable protective clothing options are available in the market place for healthcare workers. These include isolation gowns, surgical gowns, and coveralls. When selecting the most appropriate protective clothing, employers should consider all of the available information on recommended protective clothing, including the potential limitations. Employers should consult protective clothing manufacturers as needed in regards to availability and practicality for their facilities. A key step in this process is to understand the relevant standards and test methods. Descriptive information about each standard is provided in the body of this document.
When the transmission route is defined as “direct contact transmission,” such as in the case of Ebola and HIV, employers should consider gowns and coveralls that demonstrate resistance to synthetic blood, as well as passage of virus. Standard test methods can be used to evaluate the resistance of fabrics or seams/closures to synthetic blood penetration and viral penetration.
The United States commonly uses American Society of Testing and Materials International (ASTM) methods, like ASTM F1670 / F1671; while Europe commonly uses International Organization for Standardization (ISO) methods, like ISO 16603:2004.