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Characteristics Of Cotton Fabrics

Comfort The cool comfort of knitted cotton

Unlike synthetic materials, cotton has excellent air permeability and moisture transmission. It is not subject to static build-up and there is no uncomfortable clinging to the wearers skin. This is advantageous in high temparature conditions and when garments are worn for extended periods of time. Superior comfort is achieved by allowing the body to breath naturally. Knitted PROBAN fabrics are available in lighter weights and in a number of flexible constructions.

Durability Entrapped within the fibre

Since it was first developed in the 1950's, the PROBAN process has been subject to continuous improvement by Albright & Wilson. During treatment, the PROBAN chemical is implanted deep inside the cotton fibres. It is then processed to form an inert cross-linked polymer which is physically entrapped within the cotton itself.

It is this PROBAN polymer that gives the fabric its flame retardant performance; and as PROBAN does not react chemically with the cotton fibres, the natural and physical properties of the fabric remain unaffected.

The PROBAN polymer trapped inside the cotton fibres cannot be removed by washing or dry cleaning, but flame retardant performance may be masked by excessive soiling or soap deposits. Recommended care instructions should be followed to ensure the flame retardant performance lasts for the life of the garment. Chlorine bleaches should never be used during the cleaning process.

Non-combustive Behaviour The self-extinguishing solution

When flame comes into contact with PROBAN treated cotton, an insulating char is formed and there is no melting, smouldering or after glow. Unlike synthetics, cotton does not melt away from a flame to form a hole, nor does it form a hot sticky residue which can adhere to the skin of the wearer causing burn injury. In foundry and furnace operations, appropriately constructed PROBAN garments, help to protect the wearer against burn injuries arising from splash by most molten metals (except aluminium and magnesium). PROBAN cotton eliminates the risk of ignition from sparks or flame in welding or cutting operations. The flame retardant properties of PROBAN knitted cotton make it the most appropriate fabric in industries where there is a risk of spillage and ignition of flammable liquids.

Quality Control Albright & Wilson world best practise

The PROBAN quality control function is ISO 9002 and EN 45001 accredited. The Albright & Wilson testing laboratory is one of the most sophisticated in the industry. As the liscensed PROBAN finisher, we are required to submit samples of all PROBAN production batches to the designated laboratory of Albright & Wilson Limited.

Here they are assessed for flame retardant performance against the appropriate standard. Only when a batch meets the standard, is a test certificate issued together with a supply of the appropriate number of sew-in PROBAN labels which state the flammability performance standard of the fabric. PROBAN workwear fabrics are manufactured to meet all internationally recognised standards for protection against flame spread and the PROBAN label is the wearer's assurance of PROBAN protection.

Laundering Total care for the long life of your garments

To maintain quality and performance levels of your flame retardant garments, it is imperative the manufacturer's care instructions are adhered to. This will ensure PROBAN protection for the life of the garment.

  1. Durable flame retardant finish
  2. Washable and dry cleanable
  3. Do not use soap
  4. Do not use chlorine bleach
  5. Wash in synthetic detergents
Recommended synthetic detergents:
Castle, Surf, Cold Power, Dynamo, Gows, Radiant, Drive, Fab and Omo

Skin Safe Ongoing testing ensures your comfort and safety

Since the introduction of the PROBAN process, Albright & Wilson have commissioned extensive testing of PROBAN finished fabrics to make sure they meet the ever increasing health and safety demands of society. Following is a detailed look at the program of testing to which PROBAN fabrics have been subjected, by both independant testing organisations and Albright & Wilson Limited.

Leeds University conducted the Human Repeat Insult Patch Test on 256 volunteers wearing PROBAN finished fabrics. This test subjects human volunteers to direct contact with fabrics for various lengths of time. No single case of skin irritation was found.

Doctor Martin Scott used PROBAN finished fabric to perform the Human Repeat Insult Patch Test on 100 children. He also tested children having a typical infantile eczema, where an external contact was suspected as the cause. Both studies gave a result of no adverse skin reaction.

Huntington Research Centre conducted a Dermal Irritation Study on PROBAN finished fabrics. All tests indicated the fabrics were non-irritant to the skin.

Albright & Wilson subjected 38 volunteers to the Human Repeat Insult Patch Test for fabrics both before and after laundering. No case of skin irritation was recorded.

PROBAN finished fabrics were also evaluated using the Kawai S.U.M.P. test on human volunteers. This test was devised as a more searching examination of dermal effects from materials that are shown to be non-irritant in conventional tests. An independant test by the Japanese Society of Cutaneous Health reported PROBAN finished fabrics are non-irritant to the skin.

Continuous testing helps to ensure that up-to-date information is always available. The most recent studies concerning delayed type skin hypersensitivity were conducted in 1993 by Safepharm Laboratories in Derby. PROBAN finished fabrics produced a 0% sensitisation rate. This allows the fabrics to be classified as non-sensitiser, according to EEC regulations. To date, there have been no published reports of PROBAN attributing to either skin cirritaiton or sensitisation.

Non-toxic As harmless as common table salt

Although PROBAN finished fabric is unlikely to be taken internally, Albright & Wilson have taken the precaution of testing for the toxicological and environmental impact of PROBAN polymer. The results of tests carried out by the Huntington Research Centre on PROBAN polymer extracted from finished fabric are displayed in the following table.

Compound LD 50mg / kg Body-weight Route
PROBAN Polymer 3200 - 5000 Oral
Sodium Bicarbonate 4220 Oral
Sodium Chloride 3000 Oral

The toxicity levels in the table demonstrate that if a 70kg person ingested 1.5 metres of PROBAN treated fabric, it would prove as harmless as an equivalent dose of common table salt. The PROBAN polymer present in the fabric is insoluble in all common solvents and does not present any hazard to the eyes or by ingestion.

Chemical analysis undertaken by the Medical Research Centre in Britain discovered that the fumes from charring PROBAN fabrics were of no greater toxicity than fumes produced by burning untreated cotton fabric.

A further independant study by the Lambeg Industrial Research Association concluded that the combustion products produced by PROBAN fabrics were not significantly different from those produced by untreated fabrics. PROBAN fabrics produced fewer combustion by-products than untreated fabrics purely by PROBAN's self-extinguishing nature.

Optimum Protection
Knitted Cotton Comfort
Peace of Mind

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