Chemical-Resistant Gloves

Last updated: September 27, 2018

What Does Chemical-Resistant Gloves Mean?

Chemical-resistant gloves are gloves used to protect workers from hazardous exposure to chemical substances.

The material used for protection varies depending on the chemicals the worker will be exposed to.

Safeopedia Explains Chemical-Resistant Gloves

For general-purpose protection against chemical exposures, latex gloves are commonly used. In situations where stronger protection against chemicals is required, or for situations in which gloves may also be exposed to abrasives, specialized gloves made with materials such as neoprene and butyl must be used.

The chemical resistance of gloves generally decreases over time, as exposure degrades the material of the glove. Thicker gloves can thus be considered more protective than thinner gloves, which will break open after a shorter exposure. The most widely used standard for defining the protective qualities of chemical-resistant gloves is EN ISO 374.

In all jurisdictions with a developed governmental health and safety apparatus, all workers who work directly with hazardous chemical substances are legally required to use chemical-resistant gloves.

The factors that define the protective quality of a glove are its resistance to permeation, penetration, and degradation by the chemicals the worker is at risk of being exposed to. Employers must take care to verify that the specific form of chemical protection offered by a glove is suitable for the chemicals to which the employee is exposed. For instance, gloves made with butyl provide effective protection against exposure to esters, but neoprene does not. In contrast, neoprene gloves offer superior protection against exposure to kerosene compared to butyl gloves.

Because the protective quality of a specific glove material varies drastically depending on the chemical it comes into contact with, chemical resistance should be understood to be a task-specific attribute.


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