A hazmat suit is a piece of safety equipment worn by hazmat crews to avoid coming into contact with hazardous materials. The hazmat suit itself serves as an enclosure and the wearer breathes through an attached respirator. But when do hazmat suits expire? Find out below.
Hazmat Suit Expiration Dates
Here are some commonly used hazmat brands and models along with their expiration dates:
|Hazmat Suit Brand / Model||Expiration Date||Shelf Life (un-opened)|
|Medtec AAMI Level 4 Disposable Coverall PPE Suit for Biohazard Chemical Protection||None||5 – 10 years|
|Dupont Tyvek Disposable Suit||None||5 – 10 years|
|YIBER Disposable Protective Coverall Hazmat Suit||None||5 – 10 years|
|3M 4510 White XL Polyethylene/Polypropylene Disposable Coveralls||None||5- 10 years|
Hazmat Suit Lifespan
A hazmat suit lifespan can be a very long time. Much of it depends on how they are used. If not damaged, a hazmat suit can last for many uses. If fact, the rubber gloves and disposable shoe covers worn along with a hazmat suit are likely to last far less time than a re-usable hazmat suit.
It’s important to be vary careful when wearing hazmat suits though because the they can sustain damage (punctures, tears) if used in harsh environments or around tools and equipment.
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Shelf Life Of Hazmat Suits
Hazmat suit manufacturers recommend that they be replaced after 5-10 years of storage if the package has been unopened. They have determined that the strength and protective ability of the fabric will be degraded to the point of the suit being unsafe to wear after this point.
Hazmat suits have a long shelf life and have shown no signs of degrading over time due to the types of materials used. These include composite fabrics that can sustain their physical properties over extended timeframes.
These fabrics are usually made of polymer resins or rubber materials. There is no data suggesting they will disintegrate prior to the 5-10 years because they have been tested extensively for this. However, they will have a natural degration process over many years of sitting on the shelf. This includes threads becoming brittle, lose seems, and suit swelling or shrinkage. Yet, much of this depends on proper storage, along with the manufacturing quality of the hazmat suit.
Most hazmat suit manufacturers will provide a stated shelf life on the package or the suit label. It is important to never wear a hazmat suit that has past this date.
How Many Times Can A Hazmat Suit Be Worn?
This depends on the type of hazmat suit it is. Different hazmat suits will have limits as to how many times they can be worn. It is important to check with the manufacturer for recommended use of the suit. A level A hazmat suit will be able to be worn more times than lower and less expensive levels. Single use hazmat suits can only be worn once and then disgarded.
For more information, read our post Are Hazmat Suits Reusable?
Always Inspect A Hazmat Suit Before Wearing
The wearer of the hazmat suit has the responsibility of making sure their is no damage to the components or material prior to doning the suit. This requires a visual inspection of the fabric, visor, gloves, zippers, and seams. These must be in tip-top shape so as to protect the wearer from potentially dangerous chemicals they will encounter. However, level A hazmat suits must pass the ASTM F1052 pressure test to be deemed safe for vapor protection.
If any type of hazmat suit fails the visual inspection test, it should be disgarded or labeled as “Training Use Only.” For more information, see our post How Are Hazmat Suits Tested?
Hazmat suits are specialized PPE that protect the wearer from dangerous fluids and chemicals on the job. The lifespan of the hazmat suit is one factor in determining if it can keep the wearer safe.