Chemical Resistant Gloves
Designed for safe handling of chemicals, chemical resistant gloves are essential when employees are exposed to chemical irritants or potentially infectious materials in the workplace. Several factors should be considered when choosing gloves to ensure that they provide the appropriate level of protection. How hazardous are the chemicals and how long will employees be exposed? Will hands be totally immersed in chemicals or just potentially splashed? What are the grip requirements? Will items being handled be dry, wet or oily? Is thermal protection required as well?
Chemical Resistant Glove Materials
Chemical resistant safety gloves are generally made of rubber in a number of varieties: natural, latex, neoprene or nitrile. By blending or laminating the gloves with other materials, better performance is achieved. Popular for their comfort, natural latex rubber gloves protect hands from most water solutions of acids, alkalis, salts and ketones while also resisting abrasions resulting from grinding and polishing. They offer outstanding tensile strength, elasticity and temperature resistance as well. A significant negative of latex gloves, however, is the allergic reaction experienced by some.
With superior chemical and wear resistance, neoprene gloves outperform natural rubber gloves. Synthetic rubber gloves offer comfort and finger dexterity without sacrificing density and tear resistance. Though one should always verify with manufacturer spec sheets, neoprene gloves defend against hydraulic fluids, gasoline, alcohols, organic acids and alkalis.
Nitrile gloves are the workhorses of the chemical protective glove category. Though designed for tasks demanding dexterity and sensitivity in handling, they also withstand prolonged exposure to substances that cause other gloves to deteriorate and fail. Made of a copolymer, they offer protection from chlorinated solvents, oils, greases, acids, caustics and alcohols, but are not recommended for applications involving oxidizing agents, aromatic solvents, ketones or acetates.
Since the stakes are high when working with dangerous chemicals, protective gloves should be inspected regularly. In addition to examining them for punctures, tears or holes, evidence of stiffness or discoloration may also indicate that gloves have experienced degradation from exposure to chemicals. It is time for replacement gloves. When gloves are to be re-used, special care should be taken to clean and store gloves to maintain their integrity and prevent contamination.
AFT offers a full line of wholesale chemical resistant gloves by trusted names such as Ansell, Boardwalk, Boss and MCR Safety that offer protection in a wide variety of potentially harmful applications. Sizes range from small to extra-large. Select a thickness from 13-30 mils and 12", 13" or 15" cuff lengths depending on the level of arm protection needed.