ABL test method 

What is the ABL test method?

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’ (AiOs) 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%.    

ABL is a laboratory test method for adult incontinence products to evaluate their in-use performance.

With the ABL test method, healthcare professionals have a foundation to select and prescribe a better product, targeted to address the needs of every incontinence sufferer to better meet the challenge of incontinence.


The ABL test method was designed for bed ridden patients 

Update, June 2020

The ABL test method has been the basis in some countries for releasing a national standard on the ABL method. From 2014 till 2019, the ISO working group (TC173/SC3/WG2) has been active drafting standard ISO/CD 19331, which brought to light once again the limitations of the test method, in particular concerning the scope.

It is important that the scope of the method is being respected at all times (therefore below note was published in 2018). EDANA concluded that the concerns regarding ISO/CD 19331 do apply also for the existing NWSP 354.0 and intends to revise NWSP 354.0 taking the learnings from the ISO 19331 project into account.

Against that background, EDANA published a Q&A document for the proper use of NWSP 354.0 and will inform on upcoming revisions and decisions for the ABL test in due time.

Industry statement December 2018 :

EDANA wishes to express its concern about the improper use of the ABL test method, the EDANA NWSP 354.0 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.  

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.

How to get a copy of the ABL test Method?

The ABL Test Method is available free of charge to EDANA members on the EDANA member portal. 

Non-members are invited to consult our publication form or contact Marie-Josepha Peeters to purchase the method.

For any questions please contact
Marie-Josepha Peeters