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Last updated: August 13, 2018

What Does Degradation Mean?

The physical (or sometimes chemical) deterioration of a compound due to external chemical exposure or ambient conditions (heat, sunlight, moisture). In the context of health and safety, this term is often used in relation to personal protective equipment or other protective measures such as filters, which can be rendered less effective as a result of degradation.

Safeopedia Explains Degradation

When a compound or a substance is exposed to physical agents like heat, humidity or chemical agents, this has effects on the physical (or sometimes chemical) properties of that compound or substance. The most common observations of material degradation are discoloration, swelling, loss of physical strength, or deterioration. When it comes to PPE, exposure can happen as a result of a process of permeation, degradation, and breakthrough, at which point a harmful substance breaches the PPE to expose an individual.


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