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FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Glove Section

1. What is the Pro and Con of different common lab gloves material?
2. What are the Key Factors to be considered for glove selection evaluation?
3. More information and external links.

Latex Allergy

1. What is Latex?
2. What is Latex Allergy?
3. How can I protect myself from latex allergy?
4. Powder Irritation Vs. Protein Allergy Vs. Chemical Allergy: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments.
5. More info & external links.

Glove Manufacturing Process

1. Latex Glove Production From Rubber Tree to Rubber Glove.


For rich sources of updated, credible information related to protective solutions:

Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH)
Rubber Institute Of Malaysia
American Dental Association (ADA)


Glove Selection

1. What is the Pro and Con of different common lab gloves material?

There are currently eight main types of glove materials available.

  • Natural Latex
    A natural rubber material that offers good resistance to many acids and bases when it is used in a reusable glove. Latex gloves offer very limited chemical resistance. Natural rubber offers reasonable abrasion resistance.
  • Butyl
    A synthetic rubber material that offers the highest permeation resistance to gas and water vapors of all of the materials. This is especially suited for use with esters and ketones.
  • Neoprene
    A synthetic rubber material that provides excellent tensile strength and heat resistance. Neoprene is well suited for many acids and caustics. It offers moderate abrasion resistance.
  • Nitrile
    A synthetic rubber material that offers resistance to a variety of chemicals and good resistance to abrasion. It makes a good general-duty glove.
  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
    A synthetic thermoplastic polymer that provides excellent resistance to most acids and fats, and many hydrocarbons.
  • Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA)
    A water-soluble material that is highly impermeable to gases. It provides excellent chemical resistance to aromatic and chlorinated solvents. These gloves cannot be used in water or water-based solutions.
  • Viton
    A fluoroelastomer material that provides exceptional chemical resistance to chlorinated and aromatic solvents. Viton is very flexible, but has limited cut and abrasion resistance. Silvershield/4H/Barrier—These lightweight gloves, constructed from patented laminate materials, offer the highest level of overall chemical resistance. However, they offer poor abrasion and cut resistance. Often, a second glove with better grip properties or abrasion resistance is used over these gloves.

Any of these gloves will degrade with repeated exposure to chemicals. It is important to inspect the gloves before use for signs of physical degradation. They must be replaced at the first signs of breakdown.

(Written by B. Bahman on Lab Safety Review)

2. What are the Key Factors to be considered for glove selection evaluation?

There are currently eight main types of glove materials available.

  • Grip
    The evaluation of a glove's gripping potential should incorporate actual or simulated work conditions, such as wet or dry, hot or cold; actual materials handled (e.g., metal, glass, plastic); and processing aids used (e.g., solvents, lubricants, alcohols). A slippery glove leads to wasted time recovering dropped parts and increased employee frustration as workers physically strain to fight the slick exterior. Any savings realized by buying low-quality gloves will be offset by the financial impact of scrap from suboptimally assembled and broken parts.
  • Style
    The choice between hand-specific and ambidextrous styles should be based on the application. Long-term assembly of intricate pieces often requires the fit and comfort of an anatomically designed hand- specific glove. If work procedures are less tedious or glove removal frequent, an ambidextrous style may be adequate.
  • Fit
    Baggy gloves can cause wearers to execute procedures awkwardly. If infectious agents or hazardous chemicals are used, any accidental spills can put staff at personal risk. Gloves should conform to the hands yet allow ease of movement (low modulus) to minimize fatigue.
  • Cuff beading
    A beaded cuff can facilitate the removal of gloves from their packaging and make donning easier. Beading also seems to improve fit, reduce cuff roll-down, and provide resistance against drips from processing fluids.
  • Durability
    Gloves are worn in the manufacturing environment to protect the product from contaminants generated or spread by employees and to protect the employees from potentially harmful solutions or substances. When a glove tears, both functions are compromised. Therefore, it is critical to choose glove materials carefully. Vinyl, for instance, does not have the strength, elongation potential, or flexibility of latex; it breaks rather than gives. This weakness is apparent at the microscopic and macroscopic levels, with tears occurring most notably between fingers and at finger tips during strenuous, friction-creating, and torquing manipulations. During the glove evaluation period, gloves should be worn while simulating routine tasks. After each task is accomplished, the gloves should be filled with water and observed for leaks.
  • Lotion Compatability
    Most lotions should not be worn under gloves. Those that contain oil (mineral, jojoba, coconut, or palm), petroleum (gels and salves), or lanolin degrade latex and vinyl gloves, compromising barrier integrity.1 Although a hand-care regimen incorporating these products is encouraged away from the workplace, only compatible lotions should be worn under gloves. Alternatives for use with gloves include lotions formulated with a water, glycerin, or other nonoil base. To assess the potential degradative properties of a particular lotion, the following simple experiment may be performed. Cut two equal 0.25- to 2-in. strips from the palm or back surface of a glove, and then stretch and secure the strips to approximately 3 times their length. Coat one with the lotion in question, leaving the other uncoated as a control. After 30 minutes, release the strips and place them side by side. If the lotion-treated sample has enlarged either in length or width, and breaks more easily than the control, the material's mechanical stability has been degraded and the lotion is unacceptable.

Visit our link at Pro2 Solution RoadMap for a comprehensive selection guide to finding the optimal gloves solution for your professional applications.

(Presented by W. Truscott on


Latex Allergy

1. What is Latex?

In this pamphlet, the term "latex" refers to natural rubber latex, the product manufactured from a milky fluid derived from the rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis. Several types of synthetic rubber are also referred to as "latex," but these do not release the proteins that cause allergic reactions.

(NIOSH: A Prevention Guide)

2. What is Latex Allergy?

Latex allergy is a reaction to certain proteins in latex rubber. The amount of latex exposure needed to produce sensitization or an allergic reaction is unknown. Increasing the exposure to latex proteins increases the risk of developing allergic symptoms. In sensitized persons, symptoms usually begin within minutes of exposure; but they can occur hours later and can be quite varied. Mild reactions to latex involve skin redness, rash, hives, or itching. More severe reactions may involve respiratory symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, scratchy throat, and asthma (difficult breathing, coughing spells, and wheezing). Rarely, shock may occur; however, a life-threatening reaction is seldom the first sign of latex allergy.

(NIOSH: A Prevention Guide)

3. How can I protect myself from latex allergy?

Take the following steps to protect yourself from latex exposure and allergy in the workplace:

  1. Use nonlatex gloves for activities that are not likely to involve contact with infectious materials (food preparation, routine housekeeping, general maintenance, etc.).
    • Such gloves reduce exposures to latex protein and thus reduce the risk of latex allergy.
    • So-called hypoallergenic latex gloves do not reduce the risk of latex allergy. However, they may reduce reactions to chemical additives in the latex (allergic contact dermatitis).
  2. Appropriate barrier protection is necessary when handling infectious materials. If you choose latex gloves, use powder-free gloves with reduced protein content.
  3. Use appropriate work practices to reduce the chance of reactions to latex.
    • When wearing latex gloves, do not use oil-based hand creams or lotions (which can cause glove deterioration).
    • After removing latex gloves, wash hands with a mild soap and dry thoroughly.
    • Practice good housekeeping: frequently clean areas and equipment contaminated with latex-containing dust.
  4. Take advantage of all latex allergy education and training provided by your employer and become familiar with procedures for preventing latex allergy.
  5. Learn to recognize the symptoms of latex allergy: skin rash; hives; flushing; itching; nasal, eye, or sinus symptoms; asthma; and (rarely) shock.

(NIOSH: A Prevention Guide)

Glove Selection Concern?

Concern About Latex Allergy?

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