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New Chemical and Biological Protection Laboratories Help Safeguard First Responders

New laboratories in North Carolina offer state-of-the-art testing capabilities with faster turnaround times and more repeatable and reproduceable results to support the effectiveness of turnout gear cleaning and the hazardous material (hazmat) industry.

UL’s Chemical and Biology Protection Laboratories in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina

February 25, 2020

UL, a leading global safety science company, hosted a grand opening event with an official ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the unvieling of our new Chemical and Biological Protection Laboratories in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The ceremony was held Wednesday, Feb. 19 from 4-7 p.m.

The new facilities offer state-of-the-art testing capabilities for the hazardous material (hazmat) industry. An innovative instrumentation set-up allows for faster turnaround times and more repeatable and reproduceable results. The biology laboratory can conduct viral testing required by several National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA) standards for protective clothing, like firefighter turnout gear.

Specific testing capabilities:

  • NFPA 1991/1994--Standard on Vapor-Protective Ensembles for Hazardous Materials Emergencies and CBRN Terrorism Incidents
  • NFPA 1851--Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting.
  • Viral penetration testing referenced in multiple NFPA standards

Why testing is important?

Beyond the risks associated with exposure to fire and extreme heat, firefighters are also at an increased risk of developing various cancers or even heart disease due to their exposure to chemical contaminants generated during a fire.

According to recent studies conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)1, firefighters experience a 9% increase in cancer diagnoses and a 14% increase in cancer-related deaths compared to cancer rates among the general population in the U.S. We built our new laboratories to help our customers comply with the 2020 Edition of NFPA 1851. The testing completed at our new facility will help ensure that personal protective equipment (PPE) gear is properly and effectively cleaned before it is returned for use in the field. To learn more about these requirements, read our news article: New Cleaning Efficacy Requirements for Firefighters’ Personal Protective Equipment.

Our grand opening included a ribbon cutting, laboratory tours and presentations on new NFPA 1851 requirements and the future of hazmat standards. Opening remarks from special guest speakers include Christina Baxter, Ph.D., CEO Emergency Response TIPS LLC as well as Jim Reidy, San Antonio Fire Department Lieutenant. 

To learn more about how we serve the fire community visit