Cotton does not hold up at all well against corrosives. 1N H2SO4 will destroy a pair of levis in short order. I wear hospital scrubs (cotton polyester blend) and have found they last much longer and are more corrosive resistant. Natural fibers burn much slower, don't melt and stick and don't conduct electricity so that's why they are used for handling flammables or for arc flash protection. The clothing (PPE) should be suitable for the hazard(s) present.
EH&S. Weyerhaeuser R&D.
Doing some back to school shopping this weekend, I had an aha moment. My traditional go to "uniform" for doing laboratory inspections has always included jeans. It's becoming very difficult to find women's jeans that don't include some percentage of polyester and spandex (e.g. the magic ratio appears to be something like 70ish% cotton, 2% spandex and the balance being polyester). My assumption is that these blends would not hold up well to contact with corrosives and are not something you would want on your body during a fire situation. I'm wondering if this is something that organizations have had to factor into their training in recent years and if anyone has seen actual data about how the blends hold up against these kinds of hazards.
Kimberly Begley Jeskie, MPH-OSHM
Director, Integrated Operations Support Division
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
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