Client Login

forgot password

Vartest has a FAQ on UVC/UVGI and Textiles

Vartest Is Performing Accelerated UVC Testing Of Contract Textiles

  • Anticipates years of healthcare end use exposure in weeks.
  • Permits ranking and product development of woven, knitted, nonwoven, and coated fabrics.
  • Multiple evaluation methods are available:
    • Visual assessment of shade change.
    • Spectrophotometric assessment of shade change.
    • Embrittlement
    • Topcoat degradation including changes in gloss and surface chemistry and physical structure.
    • Change in anti microbial activity.

Why is UVC important to Contract Upholstery?

Standards for UVC resistant materials have up until now mostly been the concern of space agencies, as the atmosphere absorbs all UVC radiation before it reaches the Earth’s surface.

Testing for resistance to lower energy UVA and UVB is included in textile standards for outdoor applications (e.g., AATCC 16 option 3), or for materials used long term in bright areas (e.g., curtains). Such materials are selected or designed for some level of UV resistance to naturally occurring UVA and UVB wavelengths.

UVGI exposes interior surface materials (such as contract textiles) which are not currently engineered for any UV resistance to even higher energy radiation than what is addressed by lightfastness and weathering tests.

The filtered xenon and fluorescent sources specified in AATCC, ASTM, and ISO are designed to reproduce naturally occurring solar radiation at the earth’s surface, so their spectra include no UVC. They cannot be used to determine how materials will behave when exposed to UVC.


Can UVA and UVB exposures be used to predict UVC results?

No.

Materials which deteriorate when exposed to UVA and UVB will also deteriorate when exposed to UVC.

However:

Materials which deteriorate when exposed to UVC will not necessarily deteriorate when exposed to UVA or UVB.

Increasing the exposure time or intensity will increase the number of photons delivered.

But it is the energy per photon which matters.

If the energy of a UVB photon is less than the dissociation energy (breaking strength) of an atomic bond, then no bonds will break no matter how many photons are delivered.

UVA and UVB are less likely to damage textile coatings, finishings colorants, and fibers.

UVC is more likely to damage textile coatings, finishes, colorants and fibers, as well as viral and bacterial DNA.


Dose

C. difficile is considered a benchmark for effective disinfection.

It is among the most difficult HAIs to disinfect by conventional methods, and this remains true for UVGI.

Exposure dose at 254nm to kill C. difficile is in the order of 0.8 kJ/m2.

Seven years is commonly considered the lifespan for furniture in a healthcare setting.

Exposure to this dose once a week, for 7 years gives a total germicidal dose of 291 kJ/m2. That is total exposure of 291 kJ/m2 using a germicidal lamp operating at 254 nm output. Vartest achieves this dose in 10 hours but recommends a longer exposure time.

Inverse-Square Law of Light

The exposure indicated is a minimum, as the furthest corners of the room must receive this dose in order to kill C. difficile. Typical healthcare scenarios involve more frequent and more intense exposure.

The inverse square law describes how dose falls off exponentially from the source. In order for a surface three meters away from the source to receive the recommended dose, a surface one meter away will be exposed to nine times that amount. Surfaces will also be exposed repeatedly as the source is repositioned.


Ozone Generating LPM Lamps and Air Purifiers

The spectrum of low pressure mercury lamps has a peak around 183 nm, which generates ozone.

Ozone is a powerful oxidizing agent, with deodorizing and disinfecting properties similar to hydrogen peroxide.

The glass envelope of the lamp is doped to block this wavelength for applications where this would be a health hazard.

Like UVC, ozone attacks polymers and soft plastics, fades dyes, and causes yellowing. AATCC 109 and 129 can be used to assess a textile’s propensity to degrade when exposed to ozone in either high or low humidity conditions.

This type of damage is colloquially known at “dry rot.”

Healthcare end users plan based on projected lifespans.

Coated upholstery materials designed to be wiped down are of special concern. An upholstered item damaged in this way becomes impossible to sanitize and should be repaired or replaced. Plastics are especially susceptible to UV embrittlement and discoloration, and even slight damage may render a coating permeable.

Contract materials for healthcare applications are engineered for heavy wear, but UVC exposure is likely to shorten the lifespan of materials only designed to resist chemical and mechanical degradation.

Materials and equipment which cannot be sterilized are unsuitable for use in a healthcare environment. Equipment designed to be easily cleaned may become unreasonably labor intensive or impossible to clean when damaged.

Cosmetic discoloration is considered a serious issue even if equipment remains functional.

For more information contact: Trevor Trapp ttrapp@vartest.com Phone: 212-947-8381 Cell: 917-887-3202

Vartest awarded prestigious investment grant for developing advanced technologies

NYC wants to help manufacturers developing, learn about, and adopt innovative advanced technologies. Vartest has won a 2019 Advanced Material Grant from the Cornell Center for Materials Research, Invest-NY, and Ops21 to develop methods to analyze wool and cashmere fibers — Vartest will use this grant to standardize methods to detect and report the make-up and quality of important industrial materials.

More information is available from Cornell and from Ops21


Rise of Hi-Vis Counterfeit Garments: Using Standards as a Solution

The battle against counterfeit goods is well known in the luxury industry. As production shifts overseas, companies have less control over their supply chains, leading to the rise of fakes. With the total global trade of counterfeit goods reaching nearly half a trillion dollars a year, no industry is immune to counterfeiting and IP infringement.

However, in the personal protective equipment (PPE) arena, counterfeiting poses more than just a branding and business challenge. It represents a human life safety concern. For example, high-visibility safety apparel (HVSA) is critical to workers in highway, roadway, and traffic zones. In such cases, HVSA helps alert vehicle drivers to the presence of workers in low-light, low visibility environments. Given the hazards of working in high-traffic areas, there is a huge safety risk for workers who wear HVSA garments that are non-compliant and fake.

ANSI/ISEA 107: Using Standards to Fight Counterfeits & Non-Compliance

One keystone document used to assess the integrity of HVSA garments is ANSI/ISEA 107: The American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel and Accessories. This standard provides the minimum performance requirements for high-visibility garments, as well as performance class guidelines for HVSA garments worn in different work zones.

Following and understanding these guidelines will be the first step to combating counterfeit, and non-compliant HVSA garments. Many items in the market fail performance requirements. Yet they are still sold and improperly marketed since qualities such as retroreflectivity are difficult to examine visually. The following three part summary will aid your understanding of the performance standard.

3 Components to Evaluate Compliance of Hi-Vis Garments According to ANSI/ISEA 107

Fluorescent Background Material: Under normal daylight, the fluorescent background—for example, fluorescent yellow—provides adequate contrast against a background to improve visibility.

Retroreflective Tape: This component plays a huge role in nighttime visibility. As its name suggests, retroreflective materials can bounce light back to its source. This quality ensures that the wearer is noticeable in all postures and orientations.

Design: Different garment types must contain a “minimum area of visible materials.” For example, an HVSA garment used for off-road zones constitutes a Class 1 garment. This classification requires a minimum area of 0.14 sq. m of fluorescent background material and 0.10 sq. m of retroreflective tape. Design features such as pocketing and logos affect the proportion of visible tape and background material. Thus, one must consider style variations when evaluating HVSA compliance.

Performance Class 2 Vests in Two Different Styles with Labels; Protecting against counterfeit
Pictogram of Performance Class 2 Vest in Two Different Styles

Vartest Laboratories keeps counterfeit HVSA Garments off the market

We leverage our comprehensive expertise in HVSA garment evaluation to help keep fake products off the market, ensure worker safety, and educate consumers. In May, Vartest CEO Adam Varley presented on counterfeit textiles at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s “Forum on Sustainable Labor Practices” AATCC Student Chapter event. A summary of his talk is featured in Applied DNA Science’s June newsletter.

For more information on our technical services for safety apparel, please visit our HVSA website. A summary of our PPE and HVSA capabilities, and third-party certification programs can also be accessed here.

Vartest CEO Receives Alumni of the Year Award at FIT!

We are proud to announce that Vartest President & CEO, Adam Varley, has been awarded the Alumni of the Year Award at the FIT TDM 2019 Dinner. The annual event is hosted through the Textile Marketing and Development Department, celebrating accomplishments of both alumni and seniors in the program. This award acknowledges Adam’s distinctive contributions toward the fashion and apparel industry through his achievements in textile testing.

Permethrin Testing at Vartest

Vartest is one of the few labs that are able to deal with both the textile technology and organic chemistry aspects of permethrin testing.

 

Permethrin is the most widely used insect repellent against mosquitoes, ticks, cockroaches, and other pest insects. It is typically applied as a finish to both textile piece goods and finished apparel.

 

Permethrin molecule, displayed from 2 angles

 

Using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) based industry standard methods and military specifications, Vartest is able to report the amount of permethrin present on a garment both as a percentage on weight of fabric (OWF) and as a mass per unit area (grams per square meter or ounces per square yard).

 

Vartest is also able to assess the amount of permethrin present on a garment after refurbishment, using both diagnostic and industrial wash formulas as well as dry cleaning.

 

For more information, contact us at info@vartest.com.

DR. PREETI ARYA AND HER FIT CLASS VISIT VARTEST

Vartest hosted Dr. Preeti Arya and her Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Textile Development and Marketing class.  Students watched a PowerPoint focusing on the difference between Product Performance Specifications and Test Methods.

The students toured the lab seeing ASTM, AATCC, ISO, GB, ACT, BIFMA and Federal Standard 191 test methods for testing fiber, yarn, fabric (both coated and uncoated), used in apparel, aerospace, medical, military, couture, upholstery and active sportswear end uses.  Specialty testing markets like HVSA (High Visibility Safety Apparel) were reviewed in detail.

Vartest is glad to have built a relationship with the textile and apparel quality assurance and compliance executives of the future and continues to work with both FIT and its students.

Vartest publishes yarn technology whitepaper to AATCC Resource Center

SEM Image of Vortex spun yarn from Vartest Laboratories - Copyright 2018

Fascinated by what a ‘fasciated’ yarn is? Vartest recently published a whitepaper on the AATCC website to showcase our advanced capabilities in classifying yarn structures created by recent textile technologies such as Vortex spinning.  This work complements our expertise in identifying open end, ring spun, and air jet yarn types.

Download this whitepaper from the AATCC Resource Center.

Contact us now to learn more about our other yarn and fiber related testing services such as:

  • Staple Length Analysis
  • Yarn Count and Denier
  • Filament Count
  • Fiber Density
  • Cross-sectional Analysis

For more information, please visit our Fibers, Yarns & Fabrics page or contact us here.

Vartest Featured on “Every Little Thing” Podcast – What Do Care Symbols Mean?

(Click here to skip straight to the Podcast)

 

WTF Do the ⏺ 🔼 ⏹ on My 👕 Tag Mean?

 

We recently had a visit to the Vartest lab from Flora Lichtman of Every Little Thing in Brooklyn, NY to discuss textile testing for care label symbols. What resulted is an interesting and informative introduction to the care symbols used in garment labels around the world.

Of special note are comments from John Langdon of Drexel University in Philadelphia (The inspiration for the Robert Langdon character in Dan Brown’s books) on the challenge of intuitively understanding the meaning behind the current symbols. We also get insight from Ginetex, the International Association for Textile Care Labelling, on the origin of the symbols. Ginetex shared that symbol comprehension is surprisingly low – 70-80% of consumers don’t know what 3 of the 5 main care symbols mean.

If you have a question that needs answering, call the Every Little Thing Help Line at 833-RING-ELT. Gimlet Media is the award-winning narrative podcasting company that aims to help listeners better understand the world and each other.

Every Little Thing Podcast - Brooklyn, NY

Gimlet Media – Every Little Thing

 

Click here to go to the Podcast.

Vartest in Action: Dynamic Seam Fatigue Testing

Dynamic Seam Fatigue (ASTM D4033) assesses the ability of a fabric to be sewn effectively for use on upholstery fabric. The cyclic impact of a weighted wheel over a fabric-covered foam block simulates repetitive stress onto a seat cushion. Just think: how many times this week have you crashed onto your couch after a long work day?

Similar to assessing a portion of your most comfortable reclining chair, a diner booth, or newly upholstered car seat, Dynamic Seam Fatigue testing measures resistance to yarn slippage.  This method is used across a variety of markets—contract & residential upholstery, home, hospitality, and automotive textiles to name a few.

How it works:

The Dynamic Seam Fatigue tester plunges a rubber-faced wheel 7,000 times onto a standard 7-SPI (stitch per inch) upholstery seam. Specimens are sewn in the warp to warp, filling to filling, and warp to filling direction. If after 7,000 cycles, the seams demonstrate no failure, the fabric is determined to have passed the criteria established by ASTM (American Society of Testing and Materials) and BIFMA (Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association). ASTM D4033-92 is used, modified by BIFMA X 5.4-2012 Seating Durability Test as the standard test method.

See the machine in action below!

How we can help:

Along with the fabric ratings, Vartest provides photographs of any failing specimens so that the Dynamic Fatigue test report can provide effective communication with the supply chain.

Adam Varley cited in new Fashion Law and Compliance Book

We are happy to share that Adam Varley, co-founder of Vartest Laboratories in NYC has been interviewed and cited in the newly released book by Deanne Clark-Esposito, entitled, “A Practical Guide to Fashion Law and Compliance“.   Adam’s comments are part of a Q&A in “Chapter 5 – Flammability Testing and issues specific to children’s products”.

This guide can be purchased on Amazon.

Click here to learn more about the author, Deanne Clark-Esposito, or Clark-Esposito Law Firm, P.C.

A Practical Guide to Fashion Law and Compliance

Fashion Law and Compliance