Cordova Safety

An Introduction to Polypropylene Fabric Used in PPE

Polypropylene is frequently found in applications that require disposable personal protection equipment (PPE). But why? What makes it work? In this blog we’ll explore what polypropylene is, the pros and cons of its use, how it’s made, and what PPE is made from it.

What Is Polypropylene?

Polypropylene garments used as PPE are comprised of thin, paper like fibers, but polypropylene is actually a plastic. The polypropylene fabric is formed by bonding these plastic fibers together into one layer of breathable, woven-like material. Not truly woven, it’s spunbonded – a process that bonds the spun fibers together. Polypropylene is one of the most commonly produced plastics in the world, second to polyethylene, and more commonly found in product packaging than in textile production.

The Pros of Polypropylene

Polypropylene is economical and comfortable. It’s FDA-approved for food contact, so it’s not only used in PPE garments, but also in food containers and other consumer and industrial products. A primary benefit of polypropylene fabric is its moisture transfer abilities. Liquid passes through, and any moisture created while wearing the garment also passes through, which makes it breathable.

Polypropylene fabric is also abrasion-resistant and available in different weights for varying levels of protection.

Transparency of Polypropylene Fabric
Lightweight Polypropylene Fabric
The Cons of Polypropylene

One of the disadvantages of polypropylene is that it is plastic, and plastics pose an environmental concern due to their vast usage and inability to quickly decompose. Polypropylene also has a low melting threshold, so care should be taken using it around heat.

Types of PPE Made of Polypropylene

If a light layer of protection is needed against non-toxic particles, such as dirt and grime, a garment made of polypropylene might be the right choice. PPE garments made of polypropylene include hair nets, shoe coverslab coats, and coveralls, to name a few. They are used typically in applications involving laboratories, food service, and some medical applications for disposable, one-time use to avoid cross-contamination. Some examples are below:

Disposable Coveralls
Polypropylene Coveralls
woman in lab coat
Polypropylene Lab Coat
yellow polypropylene gown
Polypropylene Gown
woman with hair net
Polypropylene Hair Net
Blue Polypropylene Shoe Cover
Polypropylene Shoe Cover
How Polypropylene Is Made

Propylene (a monomer) is extracted from crude oil and subjected to a chemical process to create the polymer polypropylene. To create the fabric, polypropylene is mixed with other ingredients, including plasticizers, stabilizers, and fillers. Then, it’s cooled, forming into pellets or bricks, which are then melted and formed into fabric sheets for use.

The graphic below, from Sewport, visually simplifies the process:

Is Polypropylene PPE Right for You?

If you’re unsure whether polypropylene PPE is right for your application, contact one of our Industrial Sales managers anytime. Find them here ready to guide you. You can also Request a Sample and Request a Quote. Also feel free to check out the Related Information below.

Related Information

WEBSITES: OSHA Personal Protection Equipment | SAFEOPEDIA


CORE SAFETY PROTECTION: For over 25 years, CORDOVA SAFETY PRODUCTS has expertly provided consumer and industrial Core Safety Protection. We are a head-to-toe personal protective equipment (PPE) supplier with over 4500 products and distribution centers in Memphis & California and a member of Bunzl Distribution’s Safety family, a leading supplier in North America.

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