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thedrifter
04-12-06, 02:08 PM
Marines Ban Sports Brands From Battlefield Clothing
UPDATED: 11:09 am CDT April 12, 2006
KSAT San Antonio

BALTIMORE -- A military news Web site reported that synthetic athletic clothing containing polyester and nylon has been prohibited for Marines conducting missions away from forward operating bases and camps in Iraq.

Under direction of Marine Corps commanders in Iraq, the ban on popular clothing from companies such as Under Armour, CoolMax and Nike comes in the wake of concerns that a substantial burn risk is associated with wearing clothing made with these synthetic materials.

TheWBALChannel.com in Baltimore reported that the site -- Military.com -- says that when the clothing is exposed to extreme heat and flames, some synthetic materials such as polyester will melt and can fuse to the skin.

A military surgeon said this essentially creates a second skin and can lead to horrific, disfiguring burns.

“Burns can kill you and they’re horribly disfiguring. If you’re throwing (a melted synthetic material) on top of a burn, basically you have a bad burn with a bunch of plastic melting into your skin and that’s not how you want to go home to your family,” said Navy Capt. Lynn E. Welling, the 1st Marine Logistics Group head surgeon.

According to Tension Technology International, a company that specializes in synthetic fibers, most man-made fabrics, such as nylon, acrylic or polyester will melt when ignited and produce a hot, sticky, melted substance causing extremely severe burns.

Military.com reported Marines have been limited to wearing clothing made with these materials only while on the relatively safe forward operating bases and camps where encounters with fires and explosions are relatively low.

Baltimore-based Under Armour advertises that the fabric used to make their garments will draw perspiration from the skin to the outer layer of the clothing allowing the person wearing it to remain cool and dry in any condition or climate.

The site said servicemembers with jobs that put them at a high risk of flame exposure, such as pilots and explosive ordnance disposal personnel, were kept from wearing polyester materials because of the extra burn threat. Now, with so many encounters with IED explosions, the Marines are extending this ban to everyone going “outside the wire.”

When working in a low-risk environment where exposure to flames or intense heat is minimal, the military said the high performance apparel can be an optimal option for staying cool in the Iraq heat.

Ellie