ehs logo

Lab Coat Information Table*

Material/Source

Features

Pros

Cons

Polyester/Cotton Blend

80% Polyester / 20% Cotton, 65/35, and 40/60 are common blends.

  • Lab Supply Companies
  • Chemistry Stockroom
  • Biology Stockroom

Liquid Resistance

Splash resistant.
No specific chemical resistance.
Anecdotal evidence suggests polyester blends provide better protection against corrosive material than does cotton.
Flame Resistance
No
Polyester blends burn more readily than 100% cotton or flame-resistant materials.
Comfort

Lightweight and breathable.

More cotton in the blend results in better breathability.

Appropriate for use in clinical settings and research laboratories where biological material is manipulated.

Polyester blends burn readily when ignited, and are not appropriate for use with flammable liquids, pyrophoric materials, or near open flame.

100% Cotton

  • Lab Supply Companies
  • Chemistry Stockroom
  • Biology Stockroom

Liquid Resistance
Not splash resistant.
No specific chemical resistance.
Anecdotal evidence suggests cotton lab coats provide better protection from solvent contamination than corrosive contamination.

Flame Resistance
No
Burns less readily than polyester blends.
Comfort
Lightweight and breathable.

Appropriate for use in clinical settings and research laboratories where there is light flammable liquid or open flame use.

Cotton lab coats should be supplemented with a chemical splash apron when corrosive material is handled.

100% Cotton treated with flame retardant.

  • Lab Supply Companies
  • Manufacturers of flame-resistant garments.

Liquid Resistance

Not splash resistant.
No specific chemical resistance.
Anecdotal evidence suggests cotton lab coats provide better protection from solvent contamination than corrosive contamination.

 

Flame Resistance
Yes
Flame-resistant (FR) fabrics and garments are intended to resist ignition, prevent the spread of flames away from the immediate area of high heat impingement, and to self-extinguish almost immediately upon removal of the ignition source.
Comfort
Lightweight and breathable.

Appropriate for use in research laboratories where substantial fire risk exists from flammable material handling or open flame use.

 

Laundering will not damage the flame resistant coating.

More costly than a traditional 100% cotton lab coat.

Nomex IIIA

  • Lab Supply Companies
  • Manufacturers of flame-resistant garments.

Liquid Resistance
Flame Resistance
Yes
When in contact with direct flame or extreme heat, fibers in the protective clothing enlarge, enabling greater distance between the user’s skin and heat source.
Comfort
Breathable, but slightly bulkier than polyester blend or 100% cotton materials.

Appropriate for use in research laboratories where there is extreme fire danger from open flame, electrical arc flash, and pyrophoric material.

Expensive.

Polypropylene

  • Lab Supply Companies

Liquid Resistance
Not splash resistant.

Flame Resistance
Not flame-resistant.

Comfort
Very lightweight and breathable.

Appropriate for use when protection from dirt and grime in nonhazardous environments is desired.

Disposable.

Low cost.

Offers no protection from hazardous materials.

Microbreathe

  • Lab Supply Companies
  • Clean Room Supply Companies

Liquid Resistance

Barrier to particles, biological fluids, and chemicals.

Flame Resistance

Not flame-resistant.

Comfort
Lightweight, breathable, and stretches to allow ease of movement.

Appropriate for use in clinical settings and research laboratories where biological material and chemicals are handled.

Low particle count fabric is ideal for clean room activities.

Disposable.

Inappropriate for use in environments with a significant fire danger.

This table is being revised to present the HAZARD in the first column and the LAB COAT MATERIAL in the second column