Glove Safety and Compatibility in the Workplace

90% of occupational skin diseases are diagnosed as irritant of allergic contact dermatitis.  50% of all individuals who wear gloves experience the most common form of dermatitis.

By: Richard Rich

Latex Gloves are manufactured from the milky fluid from the rubber tree. Users like wearing Latex gloves because of the tight fit on their hands giving them the feeling of better dexterity and less movement within the glove itself thus giving them the feeling that they have better control of said glove.

But with in the past twenty-five years people were becoming aware of developing Latex Allergy from the latex proteins. This became very significant when manufactures were putting lubricant powder inside the gloves for ease Gloving. This powder would attach itself to the Latex Proteins and when the user put on the gloves the powder would be inhaled by the end user thus causing Irritant Contact Dermatitis.

Remember, When using Latex gloves use the powder free which reduces the chance of latex allergy. When using Latex gloves always uses Hand Lotions that contain No Oil Base Ingredients that Will degrade the glove causing a tear and exposing the user to their working environment.

After removing the Latex Gloves wash your hands with a mild soap.

When choosing a hand lotion, it is important to not only use something that is glove compatible but also prevents cross-contamination. Some easy to look out for ingredients that could cause contamination are Silicones , Mineral Oils, Lanolin’s  and Glycerin’s.

Nitrile Gloves

Because of the Latex Allergies,  Nitrile Gloves became popular with less skin irritation and a lower risk of allergic reactions.

Nitrile Gloves are a synthetic type of rubber manufactured with the chemical compound Nitrile Butadiene which is used in a wide range of materials. The Gloves are molded and allowed to cure. By their nature, they are popular because, unlike latex, you can handle corrosive acids and liquids along with organic solvents. “More Protection” Basically, they offer more chemical resistance then Latex Gloves.

There are two grades of nitrile gloves medical grade that are certified by the Food and Drug Administration and regular nitrile gloves, that can be used in the electronics, bioscience, and food industries. The most common nitrile glove comes in 4 to 6 mil thick and are 9 inches in length. A high-risk environment such as dealing with harmful chemicals are usually 8 mils thick and 12 inches long.

Vinyl Gloves

Some people use Vinyl gloves because they are much more affordable, they offer limited protection against harmful chemicals and dangerous environments. Plus, they do not give the user a touch and feel that Latex and Nitrile gloves do. So mostly you see them in the food service industries.

In Conclusion

There are two choices of type of gloves to be worn by end users either Latex or Nitrile. Personally, if I had a job where I wanted the glove to feel as close to my fingers in touch and feel as possible then I would choose Latex without any powders. If I am dealing with harsh chemicals and was worried about contagions from the glove ripping, I would choose Nitrile.

In either case I would put on an approved preloving hypoallergenic hand lotion that had no silicon, lanolin’s, glycerin, or mineral oils in the formulation and would weaken the structure of the gloves. If the glove rips this sustainable Hand lotion would not contaminate what ever the user is touching. Another advantage to a conductive hand lotion is the gloves and the skin are both insulative and a wrist strap will not ground the end user until the skin starts sweating to create a conductive path for the charge to flow through the wrist strap this could take 5 minutes to whenever. Using this conductive lotion, the wrist strap would ground the individual immediately.