Tuesday 8 September 2020

Modern myth #7: Gloves

Only natural latex gloves can give me an allergy.

Chemical allergy is more commonly encountered than natural latex allergy, but is often confused with the latter. With natural latex and nitrile gloves, chemical allergy is frequently derived from the accelerators (e.g. thiazoles, dithiocarbamates, thiurams etc) that are used in the vulcanisation process.  Plasticisers such as phthalates are often found in vinyl gloves and can also trigger a chemical allergy.

All nitrile gloves offer the same chemical resistance.

With nitrile offering a broad range of chemical protection, this glove material is often selected where chemical exposure is a concern. In the face of increasing price pressure and perhaps also to give users latex-like comfort, manufacturers have been steadily reducing the thickness of their gloves. If we look at the palm thickness – the part of the glove that is most likely to be in contact with chemical exposure – then the thickness of nitrile gloves may vary from 0.07mm to 0.14mm. With such a wide variation in palm thickness, comes varying levels of chemical protection. Sp, not all nitrile gloves offer the same level of protection. Seek out data on palm thickness and even better ask a glove manufacturer to provide glove-specific chemical data.

All gloves have the same barrier properties.

Gloves are often worn as a barrier for personal protection or for process protection and often for both. Prior to use, gloves may exhibit equivalent barrier properties as defined by AQL. The latter refers to the statistical probability of holes in the gloves. In-use, glove material, thickness, degradation etc. will influence the potential to develop holes. A simulated use study by Kerr revealed failure rates of respectively 35% and 9% in vinyl and latex. To assess the barrier performance of your gloves, you can perform your own test by wearing a pair for a defined time then filling them up with water to see whether they leak.

Selecting gloves is a complex business and the huge diversity in glove choices does not make it easy. We have discussed a range of topical subjects which may cloud judgement. Hopefully a better understanding of the realities surrounding glove myths will contribute to selecting the correct glove for particular applications.

See: https://www.pharmamicroresources.com/2015/09/lab-gloves-myths-and-realities.html

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (http://www.pharmamicroresources.com/)

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