Physiological tolerance times while wearing explosive ordnance disposal protective clothing in simulated environmental extremes

Stewart, Ian B., Stewart, Kelly L., Worringham, Charles J., & Costello, Joseph (2014) Physiological tolerance times while wearing explosive ordnance disposal protective clothing in simulated environmental extremes. PLoS ONE, 9(2), e83740.

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Abstract

Explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technicians are required to wear protective clothing to protect themselves from the threat of overpressure, fragmentation, impact and heat. The engineering requirements to minimise these threats results in an extremely heavy and cumbersome clothing ensemble that increases the internal heat generation of the wearer, while the clothing’s thermal properties reduce heat dissipation. This study aimed to evaluate the heat strain encountered wearing EOD protective clothing in simulated environmental extremes across a range of differing work intensities. Eight healthy males [age 25±6 years (mean ± sd), height 180±7 cm, body mass 79±9 kg, V˙O2max 57±6 ml.kg−1.min−1] undertook nine trials while wearing an EOD9 suit (weighing 33.4 kg). The trials involved walking on a treadmill at 2.5, 4 and 5.5 km⋅h−1 at each of the following environmental conditions, 21, 30 and 37°C wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) in a randomised controlled crossover design. The trials were ceased if the participants’ core temperature reached 39°C, if heart rate exceeded 90% of maximum, if walking time reached 60 minutes or due to fatigue/nausea. Tolerance times ranged from 10–60 minutes and were significantly reduced in the higher walking speeds and environmental conditions. In a total of 15 trials (21%) participants completed 60 minutes of walking; however, this was predominantly at the slower walking speeds in the 21°C WBGT environment. Of the remaining 57 trials, 50 were ceased, due to attainment of 90% maximal heart rate. These near maximal heart rates resulted in moderate-high levels of physiological strain in all trials, despite core temperature only reaching 39°C in one of the 72 trials.

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ID Code: 67678
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: This project is financially supported by the Australian Government, managed by the National Security Science & Technology Centre within the Defence
Science & Technology Organisation, and the US Government through the Technical Support Working Group within the Combating Terrorism Technical Support
Office. This support does not represent an endorsement of the contents or conclusions of the project. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and
analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Keywords: Human, Thermoregulation, Uncompensable heat stress, Heat Strain, Military, Protective clothing, Core temperature
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0083740
ISSN: 1932-6203
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > HUMAN MOVEMENT AND SPORTS SCIENCE (110600)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > HUMAN MOVEMENT AND SPORTS SCIENCE (110600) > Exercise Physiology (110602)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > HUMAN MOVEMENT AND SPORTS SCIENCE (110600) > Sports Medicine (110604)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Stewart et al.
Copyright Statement: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits
unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Deposited On: 24 Feb 2014 01:03
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2014 02:09

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