Chemical protective gloves are a very important and primary part of personal protective equipment (PPE). Personal protective equipment is used to protect wearers and patients from any infection or contamination during medical examination or operation. These types of gloves are also used for the safety of workers in chemical and manufacturing industries where radioactive materials are used.
COVID-19 positively impacted this industry. Increased awareness regarding protection from contagious diseases and its safety measures increased the demand for chemical protective gloves. To accomplish the requirement of the healthcare sector and the general public, massive growth in the production of chemical protection gloves can be observed.
What Are Chemical Protective Gloves?
Gloves used for protection against any chemical or infectious agents are known as chemical protective gloves. These gloves are provided as a part of the personal protective equipment toolbox (PPE kit) to working staff mainly in medical care, the chemical industry, and other sectors. There are different types of materials used for the production of chemical protective gloves. This includes materials such as latex, nitrile, neoprene, and butyl.
Depending upon their material and application, chemical protective gloves are classified as disposable gloves and nondisposable gloves. Disposable gloves are usually thinner and allow greater flexibility. These kinds of gloves need to be removed and disposed of after coming in contact with chemicals or completion of medical assistance. Nondisposable gloves are thicker and provide better protection as a chemical barrier.
There are different properties of gloves that need to be considered for using appropriate chemical protective gloves in certain situations. These properties are flexibility, tear resistance, thickness, and length. Along with these characteristics of gloves, chemical concentrations, temperature, and time period for how long one will be in the exposure to the chemical are also considered.
Types of Chemical Protective Gloves
The material used for manufacturing of protective gloves depends on the chemical the worker will be exposed to. On that basis, chemical gloves are classified as below.
- Latex (natural rubber) gloves are comfortable and provide outstanding tensile strength, and elasticity and resist abrasion. Latex gloves protect against most water solutions such as acids, alkalis, and others.
- Nitrile gloves are made of the copolymer and used as a safety barrier when working with chlorinated solvents such as trichloroethylene. It provides protection against oils, grease, acids, and alcohol.
- Butyl and neoprene gloves are both made of synthetic. Butyl gloves provide safety against many chemicals such as peroxide, highly corrosive acid, and strong bases. Whereas neoprene gloves offer protection from hydraulic fluids, organic acid, and alcohol.
What is meant by permeation rate, breakthrough time, and degradation?
The properties of chemical protection gloves change with their material. There are three important factors that need to be considered before selecting gloves for certain work specifications. These factors are permeation rate, degradation, and breakthrough time.
- Permeation rate is defined as the rate at which a chemical passes through the glove material. The permeation process involves absorption on the glove surface, its diffusion and desorption on the inside of the glove surface.
- Breakthrough time is the time between the initial contact of the chemical and analytical detection on the inside of the glove.
- Degradation is defined as the change in one or more physical properties of gloves due to contact with a chemical.
Use cases of chemical protective gloves
Chemical protective gloves are used in different industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, food, and others. These gloves are mainly used in medical care especially though for cancer and drug treatments. Clinical use of chemical protective gloves is also high; it is used to keep medical staff away from the risk of contamination and also for the safety of patients.
In order to maintain workplace safety, many industries have increased the use of chemical protective gloves. Its use is common in manufacturing industries where workers are exposed to various chemicals or harmful substances. Also, in the cleaning industry employees may come in contact with cleansing chemicals, and gloves are used to avoid any skin irritation or other hazard.
The agriculture industry also utilizes chemical protective gloves to protect hands against bacteria, chemicals or any contamination. Thus, chemical protective gloves provide protection in every other industry. To accomplish such global demands, research and development departments are working on providing more quantity and better quality protective gloves.