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Selection of Protective Gloves
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Important points to consider:
All chemicals will permeate protective barriers.
No single protective material will be an effective
barrier against all chemicals.
Gloves and other PPEs may look similar, so care
must be taken in choosing.
A chemical that has been absorbed by a
protective glove material will continue to
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Glove permeation data likely is based on room-
temp conditions. Higher temps may likely increase
Glove protection information based on generic
materials. Manufacturers should be consulted.
Increasing thickness normally will increase the
time to breakthrough, but benefit may be offset
by decrease in flexibility and tactility.
If glove protection is critical to health, material
should be tested against chemicals to be used!
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In the OSHA Standard for Air Contaminants (29
CFR 1910 Subpart Z), in Table Z-1-A (Limits for
Air Contaminants), there is a column for Skin
Designation. The standard states:
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“To prevent or reduce skin absorption, an employee’s skin
exposure to substances listed in Table Z-1-A with an ‘X’ in
one or both of the Skin Designation columns following the
substance name shall be prevented or reduced to the extent
necessary in the circumstances through the use of gloves,
coveralls, goggles, or other appropriate personal protective
equipment, engineering controls or work practices.”
A small subset of these chemicals include
Acrylamide Isopropyl alcohol
Benzene Methyl alcohol
n-butyl alcohol Phenol
Carbon disulfide Toluene
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Sometimes even the obvious needs stating!
• Gloves will not provide protection against chemical exposure if
they have holes caused by punctures, cuts or abrasions.
(Additional, heavier-duty gloves may be needed.)
• Gloves will not provide suitable protection against a chemical
exposure if the gloves are degraded by exposure to the
chemical, or they are permeated by the chemical in a
significant amount. (Note that some chemicals can
permeate rapidly through materials which will resist
degradation, and the user can be exposed unexpectedly.)
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