Protective textiles include safety garments and fabrics that are designed to protect the wearer from infection, injury or death. Materials include flame retardant, splash resistant, reflective and antibacterial fabrics. Other special safety equipment and textiles offer physical or thermal protection.

The correct use of safety equipment and industrial workwear is an important part of complying with national and international legislative regulations. Protective and safety equipment is selected for qualities such as resistance to permeation of gas and liquids, as well as durability and flexibility. Temperature resistance, ease of cleaning and typical service life are other factors to consider.

Tightly woven, repellent-treated fabrics provide minimal protection against liquid exposure, but special surface coatings or non-woven fabrics are usually necessary for barrier purposes in healthcare workers or animal infection control. Medical textiles are used in a variety of applications from disposable theatre staff surgery gowns, caps and masks to patient garments, bedding and uniforms. Shoe covers are used for hygiene, while suitable footwear is also important to avoid accidents and injuries or virus transmission from discarded needles. can be used to locate safety equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

Medical textiles are a rapidly growing sector in the global technical textiles market; factors such as growing life expectancy and higher healthcare spending are likely to contribute to the expanding market for non-woven and woven textile products. Anti-microbial technology can be used in a wide range of fabric applications and often employs hydrogen peroxide as an active ingredient, for its gentle disinfection and bleaching action. Industry commentators believe that future discoveries and growth in both the traditional medical textile and biosafety equipment sectors are likely to be very significant.

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