Heat strain in the Canadian Forces chemical defence clothing: problems and solutions

Can J Appl Physiol. 1994 Dec;19(4):379-99. doi: 10.1139/h94-031.


The Canadian Forces chemical defence protective clothing can induce an overwhelming strain on one's ability to regulate body temperature. Recently a number of investigations have been completed at the Defence and Civil Institute of Environmental Medicine that focused initially on understanding the interaction of metabolic rate, ambient temperature, and ambient vapour pressure on the severity of heat strain associated with wearing the protective clothing. This paper presents a summary of these initial studies together with an overview of different attempts to reduce heat strain during exercise in a hot environment. Factors such as improved aerobic fitness or a period of dry heat acclimation have little if any benefit on tolerance time while wearing the clothing during light or moderate exercise. The best solution to the problem of heat strain remains the use of microclimate conditioning (personal cooling), and these techniques have been successful for Naval and Air Force personnel. For our Land Forces, however, microclimate conditioning is not feasible until a lightweight high-energy power source is developed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization
  • Body Temperature Regulation*
  • Canada
  • Chemical Warfare*
  • Hot Temperature / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Humidity
  • Military Personnel*
  • Physical Fitness
  • Protective Clothing / adverse effects*
  • Stress, Physiological / etiology*
  • Stress, Physiological / prevention & control
  • Temperature