Barrier Properties of Disposable Gloves

Are you looking for disposable gloves that can protect you from chemical splashes and biohazards in the workplace? If so, read on to learn more about the different materials disposable gloves are made of and how they provide protection. Disposable gloves are often expected to provide personal protection against chemical splashes and biohazards, plus provide protection to the process from human-borne contamination. To assess these different needs, we will first look at glove materials, then discuss in greater detail how disposable gloves satisfy the need for chemical splash and biohazard protection. Here are some key points to keep in mind when choosing disposable gloves for the workplace:

 

- Disposable gloves come in a variety of materials, each with its own unique benefits.

- Choose a material that is compatible with the chemicals you'll be using.

- Consider the thickness of the glove when selecting a material. Thicker gloves may provide more protection, but may also reduce dexterity.

-Disposable gloves come in all sorts of colours, while the different materials they are made of also seem to be growing.

-For a product that shares such a high level of intimacy with our working life, it may come as a surprise that few of us take the time to understand their purpose.

-Disposable gloves are often expected to provide personal protection against chemical splashes and biohazards, plus provide protection to the process from human-borne contamination.

-To assess these different needs, we will first look at glove materials, then discuss in greater detail how disposable gloves satisfy the need for chemical splash and biohazard protection.This article will therefore review glove barrier properties in the workplace and why gloves really are our first line of defence.

- Disposable gloves are a necessity in many workplaces.

- They provide personal protection against chemical splashes and biohazards, and protect the process from human-borne contamination.

- There are a variety of materials disposable gloves are made of, each with its own unique benefits.

- Make sure you choose a material that is compatible with the chemicals you'll be using.

- Consider the thickness of the glove when selecting a material. Thicker gloves may provide more protection, but may also reduce dexterity.

-Disposable gloves come in all sorts of colours, while the different materials they are made of also seem to be growing.

-This article will review glove barrier properties in the workplace and why gloves really are our first line of defence. Stay safe at work with disposable gloves!

 

Here are three reasons why disposable gloves are a must-have in any medical setting:

 

1. Disposable gloves protect both the patient and the doctor. By wearing gloves, doctors can avoid coming into contact with blood or other bodily fluids, which can help reduce the risk of spreading infection.

2. Disposable gloves are a necessary part of any clinical procedure. Whether you're performing a surgery or taking a blood sample, disposable gloves provide a layer of protection that can help keep both you and the patient safe.

3. Disposable gloves are affordable and easy to find. You can purchase disposable gloves in bulk at a fraction of the cost of other gloves, and they're available at most pharmacies and medical supply stores.

 

If you're looking for a reliable source of disposable gloves, look no further than Medical Supply Solutions. We offer a wide selection of gloves in a variety of sizes and styles, and we can help you find the perfect gloves for your clinic. Contact us today to learn more!

 click here to have a look at our Nitrile Gloves selection 

click here to have a look at our Vinyl Gloves selection 

How glove materials impact barrier effectiveness

An understanding of the barrier effectiveness of glove materials is necessary, as part of the overall risk assessment. Table 1 summarises some of the main features of the most frequently encountered glove materials. Of note is the high in-use failure rate of vinyl, which is evident in the graph from the *1 Rego & Roley (1999) study. This could indicate that this glove material is not suitable for more rigorous applications in the workplace, where the emphasis may be on personal protection from chemical splashes and biohazards.

Also of interest is the emergence of neoprene as a credible synthetic alternative to latex, with some differences to nitrile in terms of chemical barrier performance. As the physical properties of glove materials are critical for determining barrier effectiveness, details on tensile strength and elongation are also provided in Table 1. Perhaps surprisingly, measurement of physical properties is not a requirement for “Protective gloves against chemicals and micro-organisms” (as defined in EN374-1: 2003 “Terminology & Performance Requirements”). Accordingly details of the nearest appropriate European standard (EN455-2: 2000 covering examination gloves and before accelerated ageing) are provided, as are the ASTM equivalents. The relevance of testing for physical properties is described below:

  • Tensile strength User impact: The stronger the gloves, the more durable they are in use thereby providing optimal personal protection Process impact: Stronger gloves can lead to fewer glove changes, thus decreasing the chance of contamination of the process
  • Elasticity ASTM D412 evaluates the amount of force required to stretch the glove. The lower the modulus, the less effort required for movement User impact: this measurement gives us an insight as to how much effort glove wearers will have to exert to perform tasks and impacts on hand fatigue. It is particularly relevant to those tasks in the workplace requiring repeated hand movements e.g. manipulating a pipette 

 

Material Type Tensile Strength Elasticity Durability Fit & Comfort Chemical Resistance (Incidental Exposure)
Latex (Natural Rubber Latex from the rubber tree “Hevea brasiliensis” Excellent with a minimum tensile strength of 9N per EN455-2 and 14 MPa per ASTM D3578 High level of memory, elasticity, and elongation. Minimum requirement for elongation is 650% per ASTM D3578 Highly resistant to tears and punctures, with inuse failure rates reported to be 0% to 9%*1*2*3 Excellent, conforms to hand Fair protection especially with waterbased chemicals, alkalis & alcohols. Poor resistance to organic chemicals, oils and greases
Nitrile (Acrylonitrilebutadiene, a synthetic co-polymer) Excellent strength and puncture resistance. Minimum tensile strength of 3.6N per EN455-2 and 14 MPa per ASTM D6319 Medium to high, conforming to the user’s hand with use. Minimum requirement for elongation is 500% per ASTM D6319 Highly resistant to punctures and tears. Once punctured tear is visible and quickly spreads. Reported in-use failure rates range from 1% to 3%*1*2 Good to excellent, conforms to hand. Sometimes has high modulus or stiffness Good protection to a broad range of chemicals including alkalis, fuels, many solvents, greases, animal fats etc. Poor protection against ketones, aromatics and chlorinated solvents
Vinyl (Polyvinyl chloride, a synthetic co-polymer) Limited strength, with minimum tensile strength of 3.6N per EN455-2 and 11MPa per ASTM D5250 (NB: ASTM differentiates between nitrile & vinyl) Low to medium, with moderate fl exibility. Minimum requirement for elongation is 300% per ASTM D5250 In applications requiring long term or rigorous use, in-use failure rates range from 26% to 61% *1*2*3 Fair, but not usually offering the snug qualities of latex or nitrile Generally poor, but offering some protection to petroleum-based products and animal fats. Contact with chemicals can release phthalates (often used as a softener in vinyl), which may damage DNA. DEHP is the most commonly used phthalate and is classifi ed as a toxicant in the EU
Neoprene Excellent strength properties. Minimum tensile strength of 3.6N per EN455-2 and 14MPa per ASTM D6977 Generally higher elasticity than nitrile and closer to latex in elasticity properties. Minimum requirement for elongation is 500% per ASTM D6977 Fair puncture resistance Good, although sometimes has high modulus or stiffness Resistant to many chemicals including oils, acids, & large range of solvents. Poor protection to organic solvents

Table 1. Summary of main features of glove materials 

If you're running a clinic, it's important to understand how different glove materials can impact the effectiveness of your barrier. Table 1 below summarises some of the key features of various glove materials, including their in-use failure rates. As you can see, vinyl gloves have a relatively high in-use failure rate, which means they might not be suitable for more rigorous applications where personal protection from chemical splashes and biohazards is paramount.

Neoprene gloves are emerging as a credible synthetic alternative to latex, with some differences in terms of chemical barrier performance. Of course, the physical properties of glove materials are critical for determining barrier effectiveness. That's why details on tensile strength and elongation are provided in Table 1. Keep in mind that measuring physical properties is not a requirement for "protective gloves against chemicals and micro-organisms" (as defined in EN374-1: 2003 "Terminology & Performance Requirements").

Nonetheless, knowing the tensile strength and elasticity of your gloves can give you valuable insights into how they'll perform in the real world. For example, if you're looking for a glove that's easy to move in, you might want to choose one with a low modulus. And if you're performing tasks that require repeated hand movements, you'll want to take hand fatigue into account. So before making your next glove purchase, be sure to consult Table 1!

Barrier protection of disposable gloves against biohazards

Council Directive 90/679/EEC dated 26th November 1990 is the original version of the regulation covering protection of workers from risks related to exposure to biological agents. It has been substantially revised over the years and Council Directive 2000/54/EEC (*4 OJ L262/21) appears to be the latest version. This Directive classifies biological agents into four groups, which determines the level of risk and the containment level. The biological agent groups are defined as follows:

  • Group 1 biological agent: One that is unlikely to cause human disease. Examples of group 1 biological agents are Lactobacillus spp., Bacillus subtilis, Naegleria gruberi etc
  • Group 2 biological agent: One that can cause human disease and might be a hazard to employees. Whilst it is unlikely to spread to the community, there is usually effective treatment or prophylaxis available. Examples of group 2 biological agents are Hepatitis A virus, Polioviruses, Salmonella typhimurium, Ascaris etc
  • Group 3 biological agent: One that can cause severe human disease and presents a serious hazard to employees. It may present a risk of spreading to the community, although an effective treatment or prophylaxis is usually available. Examples of group 3 biological agents are Bacillus anthracis, HIV, Histoplasma capsulatum etc
  • Group 4 biological agent: One that can cause severe human disease and presents a serious hazard to employees. It may present a high risk of spreading to the community and there is usually no effective treatment or prophylaxis available. Examples of group 4 biological agents are Ebola virus, Marburg virus, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever etc.
Biological agent group Containment levels Recommendation on protective clothing Recommended use of gloves (*5) Other possible considerations for hand protection
Group 1 1 Yes (in accordance with the principles of good safety and hygiene) Optional (to be worn if skin on hand is broken or if a rash is present) Nitrile/neoprene or latex glove that is compliant with EN374-2: 2003 (AQL <1.5 or Level 2)
Group 2 2 Yes, work clothing Yes (for contact with potentially infectious material and contaminated surfaces or equipment) As for Group 1. Additionally use long length gloves (<26cm) and seek gloves that have passed the viral penetration test
Group 3 3 Yes Yes (plus frequent changing of gloves accompanied by hand washing) As for Group 2, but seek additional protection by using only gloves with an AQL of <0.65 or Level 3 (EN374-2: 2003)
Group 4 4 Yes, full change before entering and exiting Yes (as part of a one piece positive pressure suit with its own air support system) Disposable glove may be used as an under glove for extra protection

Table 2 Summary of some of the safety aspects to Council Directive 2000/54/EEC

 

Conclusion

This article has taken a closer look at the barrier properties of disposable gloves. Particular attention has been given to protection from chemical splashes and biohazards. The value of long cuffed gloves for protection of the wrist has been noted, although it would appear that few manufacturers are to date complying with the minimum length required for conformance with EN374- 1: 2003 (“Protective Glove against chemicals and micro-organisms- Terminology & Performance Requirements”).

For protection against biohazards, the benefits of using gloves with an AQL of 0.65 was suggested in terms of giving the glove wearer increased protection against biological agents in groups 3 and 4. Similarly the limitations of EN374-2: 2003 (determination of resistance to penetration) was discussed in so far as it does not appear to offer protection against viruses. In this context it was suggested that for protection of biological agents from groups 2 to 4, it may be advisable to use gloves that have proven viral penetration resistance. Whilst ASTM F1671 is not a European standard, it may be a temporary solution.

 

If you are looking for gloves to protect you from biohazards, it is advisable to use gloves that have proven viral penetration resistance. Whilst ASTM F1671 is not a European standard, it may be a temporary solution. In the meantime, you can always contact us (toptiersafetysupplies.com)for more information on the best gloves for your needs.

Avianz ez don nitrile glovesBarrier protection of disposable gloves against biohazardsBlack nitrile glovesBlossom examination nitrile glovesBlue nitrile glovesDisposable glovesDisposable gloves in the workplaceGreen nitrile glovesHow glove materials impact barrier effectivenessVinyl gloves

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published