1. Carter, David


Vulnerabilities found in fabrics, seams, and ties.


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The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has reported that approximately one-third of the disposable hospital isolation gowns it tested failed to meet industry standards. Isolation gowns, intended to protect health care workers from contact with patients' bodily fluids, including blood, secretions, and excretions, are the item of personal protective equipment (PPE) most commonly worn in hospitals after gloves. In the wake of threats posed by infectious diseases such as Ebola virus disease and pandemic influenza, there has been an increased emphasis on the need for effective PPE.


The research, conducted at the NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, evaluated the fabric, seams, and ties of 22 different gowns from six manufacturers. Seven of the models didn't meet the liquid barrier performance standard for protective apparel set by the American National Standards Institute and the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation.


NIOSH commented that the results suggested that isolation gowns on the market should be evaluated periodically. Although NIOSH didn't specify which particular models or manufacturers failed the tests, it did provide the test results to the manufacturers and stated that the institute is working with them "to identify issues and determine necessary corrective action to assure [sic] that products on the market are providing the expected level of protection to the end user." NIOSH also noted that it is working "to identify other research gaps" so that PPE performance requirements can be improved. For more information, see the research brief at NIOSH Science Blog: Carter