What You Should Know About Chemical Resistance and Disposable Gloves

Posted by Melanie Predolich on

Many jobs require workers to handle a variety of different chemicals, yet these tasks don’t warrant the use of hefty multi-use work gloves. When using disposable gloves in your work place, it is important to be aware of the chemical resistance these type of gloves do, or don’t have.
It is easy to generalize your knowledge about disposable gloves, and by making assumptions and generalizations, employees can begin to hold false facts, or myths about the reality of the chemical resistance their disposable gloves have.
One of those myths is the assumption that all disposable latex gloves are chemical resistant. Another is that if you can’t see any signs of the glove being compromised, the glove is suitable to be used with that chemical. While natural rubber gloves are typically pretty well chemical resistant, it is not safe to make a blanket statement about this. Disposable latex gloves don’t hold up well to certain types of chemicals like organic solvents or chemicals derived from hydrocarbon. And many times, although the wearer may not be able to visibly see any degradation from chemicals, the chemicals may be permeating the glove and seeping into the wearers skin. This can be extremely dangerous, especially for individuals who handle chemicals on a daily basis. They could be being exposed to harmful chemicals with significant ramifications.
Realizing that not all disposable gloves are adequately chemical resistant, makes it necessary for you to be aware of the material your gloves are made of and how they are rated in relation to chemical resistance. Many gloves are run through tests to determine how well they hold up to chemical exposure, and then that glove manufacturer should indicate what types of chemicals their gloves can withstand, and for what length of time. Many manufacturers also test for permeation time, which will give you an idea of how long it takes from the time you begin interacting with a chemical until it has permeated through the protective layer of the glove.
While it is important for you to do proper and thorough research when it comes to purchasing chemical resistant gloves, here is a quick start for you to know what type of disposable glove material is best suited for your scenario:
Latex: food service, health care, dentistry, nail salons, janitorial services
Nitrile: automotive industry

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