The maker of a synthetic fiber in bulletproof vests says its product has passed strict tests, suggesting it was not to blame for defective gear worn by thousands of police officers nationwide, reports the Los Angeles Times. Toyobo Co., the Japanese firm that makes Zylon – a fiber used in 100 brands of bulletproof vests and body armor said tests showed that the fiber was not harmed after being exposed to 104-degree heat and 80 percent humidity for 20 months.
The dispute involves the integrity of the bulletproof vests worn by as many as 200,000 police officers. Concern arose last summer when an undercover officer was shot in the abdomen while trying to make an arrest in Pennsylvania. A .40-caliber bullet penetrated the front panel of his vest.
Second Chance Inc., the nation’s largest and oldest maker of body armor, then charged that Zylon loses 30 percent of its strength after about two years. Toyobo and Second Chance blame each other for the vests’ alleged problems.