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How Do I Choose the Best Chemical-Resistant Gloves?

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  • Written By: Lakshmi Sandhana
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 09 September 2016
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It is vital to choose the best chemical-resistant gloves for the task at hand, since they protect the skin from cuts, burns, hazardous chemicals and extreme temperatures. No single glove can combat all types of chemical substances. To select the right set of gloves, you need to perform a hazard assessment and factor in the gloves’ permeation breakthrough rate and degradation time.

A hazard assessment involves taking into account the types of chemicals or chemical combination the gloves will come in contact with. It is important to identify the toxic properties of the chemicals involved, the concentrations and temperatures the gloves will be exposed to and the length of time they will be in contact with the chemicals. Depending on the task, contact might either be minimal or the gloves may be required to withstand being immersed in the chemicals for longer periods.

Chemically-resistant gloves are classified by the permeation breakthrough time. This data refers to how long the gloves can withstand or resist the chemicals from breaking through when they are immersed in the chemical solution. Permeated gloves don’t look any different, so it is very important to choose the right gloves for the job. When dealing with a single chemical, choosing gloves that are highly-resistant will offer you excellent protection. If you are working with a combination of chemicals, then it is vital to choose a set of chemical-resistant gloves that are highly-resistant to the chemical with the shortest breakthrough time.

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Another factor to consider is how fast the material degrades over time due to chemical exposure. Chemical-resistant gloves may become discolored, hard, brittle or weak. The degradation effects the gloves’ permeation resistance, so it is important to check the degradation ratings for the particular glove and chemical combination you have in mind.

It is also important to consider the level of dexterity you might require. Thinner gloves, for instance, are usually used for delicate work done in laboratories, while thicker gloves are employed for tasks such as handling pesticides or cleaning industrial components. The way to choose the best chemical-resistant gloves is to go through the manufacturer’s chemical resistance guide and select the glove that has the highest resistance to the chemicals they will be exposed to.

There are many polymers that are used to make chemical-resistant gloves, and their composition may vary from one manufacturer to another. One way to be sure about the quality of the gloves in question is to take a look at the specific manufacturer’s test statistics or call the manufacturer for more specific suggestions.

Check user reviews of the gloves. While some gloves may seem excellent in terms of specifications, it is good to get an idea of how resistant they are in actual usage. Chemical-resistant gloves that have fantastic permeation resistance may not be of much use in the field if they tear easily or get punctured fast. To choose the best chemical-resistant gloves, always consider the physical requirements of the job itself.

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