us suppliers of personal protective equipment

What Is PPE? U.S. Suppliers of Personal Protective Equipment

By Eileen Dempsey

us suppliers of personal protective equipment

As U.S. suppliers of personal protective equipment, our individual and wholesale PPE offerings combine traceable, medical-grade materials with made in America quality. Have a product in mind during the COVID-19 pandemic? SiliconeGear is not only a leader among PPE suppliers: We are owned and operated by Casco Bay Molding, a factory that engages both in medical product development and injection molding production.

Not only is our gear — face shield, antimicrobial products, and face mask — made in America in an ISO 13485 Certified facility, but we’re pleased to be one of the few U.S. suppliers of personal protective equipment with factory-direct pricing.

As U.S. PPE Suppliers, We Offer Wholesale:

  • Face shields
  • Face masks (upcoming)
  • Antimicrobial doorknob covers (upcoming)

About the Casco Shield™

When we designed our shield, we had two goals: durability and affordability. Here are a few reasons why many businesses are choosing SiliconeGear as their U.S. supplier of personal protective equipment:

  • Durability: We designed the Casco Shield™ for repeated use. That means manufacturing with medical-grade polypropylene and silicone rubber.
  • Comfort: This PPE gear is made from flexible polypropylene and features a highly adjustable silicone strap so you can tighten it to your preference.
  • Quality: We are an ISO 13485 Certified factory, which means that we are certified to manufacture medical device components. It also means that we offer that level of quality for all of our products.
  • Fast Delivery: We ship all of our products from our factory in Maine. Smaller orders ship within 2 business days.
  • Wholesale Pricing: We are pleased to offer bulk orders on this website for face shields in quantities of 20, 40, 80, and 120, as well as individual units. We are also pleased to provide you with a quote for larger orders.

As both U.S. suppliers of personal protective equipment and the manufacturer, our goal is to give fellow American businesses a product of great value. For example, two face shields (with two additional visors) costs only $22.99, plus free shipping.

Disclaimer: The Casco Shield™ is a comfortable, adjustable shield made in our facility in Maine. It features a comfortable and adjustable headband and strap design and easy-change visors. It has not been tested per any OSHA or FDA testing. For more information and to read our disclaimer.

What Is PPE and Why Source It From U.S. Suppliers of Personal Protective Equipment?

PPE equipment, which stands for personal protective equipment, can refer to supplies used by healthcare, construction, laboratory, or industrial workers. Most people asking what PPE gear is are doing so in response to the COVID-19 and the PPE shortage affecting healthcare workers, cleaning services, dentists, grocery store clerks, uber drivers, office workers, teachers, and so many other essential members of our communities. 

Today, the U.S. is experiencing a shortage of the gear we need due to increased demand during the pandemic and dependence on international supply chains. By choosing U.S. suppliers of personal protective equipment, a business has access to better quality products, customer service, and fast shipping times.

Here’s what you need to know about what PPE gear is, what kinds exist, and where you might find it.

PPE Stands for Personal Protective Equipment

This term is largely used to refer to clothing and other gear used to protect individuals from hazardous conditions. For example, a construction worker may wear a hard hat, special gloves, and steel-toed boots. It’s also “personal,” meaning that it isn’t designed to be shared among different people. This may be especially important for healthcare workers and others dealing with infectious diseases such as coronavirus (COVID-19).

PPE Gear for Healthcare Workers

People who require PPE include (but not limited to):

  1. Healthcare workers who may be at risk for COVID-19 infection
  2. Those at high risk of infection
  3. Those who have tested positive for COVID-19

Healthcare workers may include people in doctors’ offices, laboratories, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and more. In these cases, personal protective equipment may serve to create a barrier between a person’s eyes, nose, mouth, and skin and external contaminants such as viruses and bacteria.

But it isn’t only for the healthcare workers who come in close contact with those potentially infected with an illness such as COVID-19 or Ebola: PPE gear may also assist individuals at high risk of infection, including (but not limited to) the immunocompromised and those undergoing surgery.

PPE Meaning in Review:

  • PPE stands for personal protective equipment.
  • It is a technical term used to describe specific gear for healthcare workers and at-risk individuals.
  • It may be relevant to reopening businesses during COVID-19.
  • Typically, it creates a divide between a person’s mouth, eyes, nose, and skin, and external bacteria and viruses.
  • Equipment is typically held to certain quality standards (more on that later), which does not mean that a homemade face mask, for example, qualifies.
  • Sourcing from U.S suppliers of personal protective equipment often translates to better quality products and faster delivery times. 

PPE Safety Is Industry-Specific

Personal protective equipment is a term used in a variety of industries (construction, public safety, science, healthcare), meaning that standards differ. Furthermore, there are different types of PPE within industries, which may be subject to unique levels of regulatory oversight.

For example, OSHA, the U.S. Department of Labor, reviews equipment for construction, shipyard, marine, longshoring, and general industry. Any supplies that fall under OSHA jurisdiction must meet American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards, according to their website.

They also specify that, in these industries cases, PPE means gear that is designed to protect against work-related contact with mechanical, electrical, chemical, and other dangers.

FDA, PPE Gear, and U.S. Suppliers of Personal Protective Equipment

In the case of COVID-19, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) may be responsible for regulatory oversight concerning different types of supplies because it may be classified as a medical device. Keep in mind that there are different levels of medical devices, which may require unique manufacturer certifications, testing, and more.

The federal government has said that PPE should be worn by medical professionals and not the general public. If you have any questions or want up-to-date information on the status of personal protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic, please see the CDC website and consult your physician.

Fun Fact: The N95 mask is designed to obstruct a minimum of 95% of test particles (see this comparative study published in the American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal). This type of PPE equipment is subject to FDA regulations, as are other important types of PPE for coronavirus mitigation, including ventilators, masks (as opposed to face coverings), testing, and many other critical supplies.

Types of Personal Protective Equipment

Keep in mind that workplace gear can be divided into many subcategories depending on the industry and its application. For example, gloves alone may be categorized into six types. Anyone looking to buy PPE equipment should consult with their physician and seek knowledge of their industry and workplace.

In short, most people divide into five subcategories. These may include:

  1. Respiratory protection
  2. Face and eye protection
  3. Hand protection
  4. Hearing protection
  5. Body protection

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a shortage of respiratory and face and eye protection, though hand protection and body protection may also be relevant depending on the situation and its relevant procedures.

22 Types of PPE Gear

Let’s go over a few examples of respiratory and face and eye protection. As always, the following is neither medical nor legal advice and is designed solely for educational purposes.

Airborne Precautions PPE (Respiratory) Examples:

  1. Surgical masks
  2. N-95 respirators
  3. Respirator cartridges
  4. Half-mask Respirators
  5. Full-face respirators

Face masks are typically divided based on the level of protection against droplet precautions or airborne contaminants. For levels beyond a minimum performance mask, this type of PPE gear must be subject to specific and stringent testing for a manufacturer to many any type of claim. This is called ASTM testing.

Types of PPE Face Masks Based on ASTM Testing

Per ASTM testing, there are 5 levels of mask protection:

  1. ASTM Level 3
  2. ASTM Level 2
  3. ASTM Level 1
  4. Low Performance
  5. Minimum performance

Typically, the higher the ASTM level, the higher the fluid resistance and filtration efficiency.

What Type of PPE for Droplet Precautions?

For specific advice, please see a physician as there are specific regulations to follow for droplet precautions in cases of high contagions, such as COVID-19, influenza, and Ebola. Personal protective equipment may include a gown, gloves, type of face mask depending on the interaction and the advice of your medical professional, and supplies for the patient as well as cleaning and isolation procedures.

For up-to-date information please see the CDC website and speak with your physician.

Face and Eye Examples

Again, it is important to note that a variety of industries require eye and face protection, including laboratories, construction, and healthcare. Examples of this type of gear may include:

  1. Safety glasses (general)
  2. Laser safety glasses
  3. Chemical or infectious droplet goggles
  4. Impact goggles
  5. Shields

Hand Protection Sourced from U.S. Suppliers of Personal Protective Equipment Examples

Gloves or protection of some sort may be required for a variety of industries and held to unique industry-specific standards. Here are a few examples.

  1. Wire mesh gloves
  2. Insulated gloves
  3. Heavy chemical resistant gloves
  4. Light-heavy chemical resistant gloves
  5. Light chemical resistant gloves
  6. Light latex, nitrile or vinyl gloves (of which there are several subsets depending on the level of biological hazard).

PPE Meaning for Hearing Protection

Another great example of personal protective equipment typically outside of the healthcare community, hearing protection may include:

  1. Hearing band
  2. Reusable earplugs
  3. Disposable earplugs

Body Protection Examples for a Variety of Industries

A variety of industries require some sort of body protection. This may include anything from a vest to a hazmat suit. Here are a few other examples:

  1. Plastics, rubber or rubberized fabrics, or neoprene (typically for work with hazardous chemicals)
  2. Flame resistant materials
  3. Cotton or Cotton blend materials

Choosing U.S. Suppliers of PPE Gear Means Better Products, Pricing, and Delivery Time

As businesses reopen, it is critical that they have access to durable and affordable gear. In many cases, that means finding PPE suppliers in the United States, especially those like us who can offer factory-direct pricing. We are also pleased