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NWSP 354

To whom this may concern,

Subject: The correct use of the Absorption Before Leakage test method (NWSP 354)

EDANA wishes to express its concern about the improper use of the ABL test method, the EDANA NWSP 354 latest version and the national standards that are based on it, Germany DIN 13222, Spain UNE 153601-1, Russia GOST 55370-2012.  

On behalf of the Absorbent hygiene products industry EDANA urges all institutional buyers to respect the scope of the ABL method when preparing the tender or the reimbursement requirements.  

This method has been developed for testing adult incontinence products for moderate and severe incontinence, that are to be used by bedridden patients. The method is designed for ‘all in ones’ (AiO’s) also called briefs, with sizes XS, S, M, L and XL, and pads (held in place by elastic mesh briefs or other close-fitting underwear) with Absorption Before Leakage (ABL) values between 300 and 1100 g. The method has been validated for the 5 sizes of briefs with coefficient variation (CV) values ranging from 2,7 till 12,8% (no correlation with size) with an average of 7,0%.    

The notion that mentioned products are designed for bedridden patients is essential. Consequently, the method is not suited for testing other categories, like those marketed for use by mobile people suffering from light or medium incontinence. Unfortunately, it is technically not feasible so far, to test a wide range of incontinence products with one single method.

It is important to respect the limited scope of the ABL method to assure that the test results are reliable, test results obtained for products that are out of scope are meaningless due to their high variability. 

Through our members, EDANA has been informed that buyers or payers sometimes ask for ABL results for a full product range, even for products that are out of scope of the ABL method. Discussions initiated by individual companies about this practice had no result and not submitting the test results would lead to being excluded from the tendering process or reimbursement lists… a risk that companies don’t want to take. But providing unreliable test results implies a risk as well… Procurement decisions might be taken on wrong data and/or patients and healthcare professionals might get misinformed.

Finally, EDANA would like to inform you that efforts are ongoing to improve the versatility of the test methods to make them suitable for testing all types of Absorbent hygiene products.

For any further information, please refer to Marines Lagemaat (

Brussels, December 2018.

EDANA | Avenue Herrmann Debroux 46-B-1160 Brussels, Belgium | Tel: +32 2 734 93 10