The IAC Quality Program for Agricultural Protective PPE/Clothing (Quepia) was presented at the 15th International Plant Protection Congress.
The meeting, part of ″IUPAC″ 2023 on chemistry in agriculture, took place in the Indian city of New Delhi and brought together professionals and companies from all over the world.
On the occasion, researchers Hamilton Ramos and Viviane Aguiar Ramos also dealt with global trends related to the manufacture of PPE.
PPE, or agricultural protective clothing, is equipment developed to protect rural workers who work as applicators of agrochemicals or pesticides: pants, aprons, shirts, respirators, gloves, caps, visors, goggles, and other items.
Born 17 years ago, through a partnership between the Engineering and Automation Center (CEA), the Agronomic Institute (IAC), and a group of companies, IAC-Quepia has already transferred benefits to the field, such as boosting the gradual technological advancement of PPE, in addition to helping the sector's industry to seek certifications based on ISO standards (International Organization for Standardization), according to the researchers.
″When the program was created, there were no technical standards in Brazil that anchored quality analyses and attested to the safety of PPE,″ emphasized Hamilton Ramos, coordinator and creator of IAC-Quepia.
Headquarters of the program since the beginning, CEA-IAC, is an agency of the Secretary of Agriculture and Supply of the State of São Paulo, headquartered in Jundiaí. It maintains one of the most advanced laboratories in the world to evaluate PPE, according to Ramos.
Around BRL 500,000 has been invested in the place in recent years, with funds raised from agro companies, he added.
According to Ramos, in this laboratory parameters of safety, permeability, resistance, and quality of PPE fabrics, among others, are currently evaluated ″up to the limit of their useful life.″
″The approved PPE receives the ‘IAC-Quepia Seal’. This seal has become a guarantee of quality that is now claimed and displayed by manufacturers with a reputation for credibility.″
Ramos noted that from the perspective of the market, the IAC-Quepia seal ″helps segregate inappropriate PPE and opens up the market for certified products.″
Also, according to him, the consolidation of the IAC-Quepia in the agro contributed to reducing the quality disapprovals of agricultural PPE manufactured in Brazil, which were around 80% of the total tests, in 2010, to less than 20% today.
(Editing by Leonardo Gottems, reporter for AgroPages)