Hazmat stands for Hazardous Materials, a classification for substances that are deadly or harmful to humans and the environment. These substances include nuclear, biological, and chemical materials used in industrial processing or in unconventional warfare. First responders such as firefighters and ambulance crews often don Hazmat suits when entering these hot zones.
Hazmat suits may be a Level A suit, resembling a space-suit, that offers full protection from gas and liquid penetration, or a Level B type suit that is adequate to protect the wearer from liquids. The materials that make up Hazmat suits vary from butyl rubber to heavy PVC that is treated to repel chemical and gases to Tyvek, which is a paper-like material that is more lightweight than the heavier counterparts.
To rubberists, Hazmat suits offer the wearer total enclosure and isolation from the outside environment. The rubber or heavy PVC material serves as a second skin on the wearer.
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