In laboratories all around the world, scientists and lab technicians work with a range of different hazardous chemicals as a part of their day-to-day activities and the gloves they wear are the most important piece of safety equipment of all.
These gloves need to protect the user from the chemicals, while still providing the dexterity and motor control needed to perform complex procedures.
Here are 6 key considerations you should be aware of when buying nitrile gloves for chemical use cases:
1. Do they form a good barrier?
Your safety is the number one priority and you want to ensure that the gloves create a solid barrier between you and the chemicals you’re working with.
Liquids and micro-organisms can penetrate any porous materials, seams, pinholes, or imperfections – so you want to be sure that your gloves are airtight from that perspective.
The standard test for this is known as the EN ISO 374-2:2014 standard which tests for air leaks and water leaks in gloves. You should be able to find that code on the product and if you can’t, then you should stay away from those.
2. Are they protected against chemical permeation?
A glove needs to protect against chemicals being able to move through a glove at a molecular level – a process known as permeation.
The test you’d be looking at here is EN 16523-1:2015 which tests the glove’s material to analyze how much of the chemical has permeated the barrier after a certain amount of time.
There are 6 levels in this test, but Level 2 is the lower bound in order to pass this particular standard. Either way, it’s worth finding out how the gloves you are looking to purchase performed in this regard as it’s a key part of the safety protocols.
3. Are they resistant to chemical degradation?
A glove might be safe coming straight out of the box but if it is subject to degradation over time then you’ll run into problems down the road.
This is especially important with chemicals because if your gloves are not of the right quality, they can change the physical characteristics of the glove over time, putting your safety at risk.
Here, you’ll want to make sure the gloves you purchase pass the EN374-4:2013 standard for every chemical that you work with. Without that certification, you just don’t know how the gloves will perform after some use.
4. Are the gloves well suited for the chemicals you’re working with?
If you work with specific chemicals on a regular basis, it is worth consulting with your glove manufacturer to make sure that the gloves you are buying are suitable for those chemicals.
Every use case is slightly different and the range of nitrile gloves out there have slightly different characteristics which might make a difference.
When in doubt, ask the company you’re buying from. There is no one glove that can handle every chemical.
5. How thick should your gloves be?
There is always a tradeoff here between thickness and dexterity.
The thicker the gloves are, the more resistant they will be to chemicals (but this is only one factor of many), but what you gain in a barrier, you lose in fine motor control.
So, depending on what you intend to use the gloves for, you should select a thickness that works for your particular situation.
6. Are they comfortable?
Lastly, after all the safety considerations are taken into account, you can finally look to comfort.
These gloves are likely something you’ll be wearing the whole day and so it’s important to find gloves that fit you well, don’t fall off, and are comfortable for long periods.
It’s worth spending a little bit more on gloves that are comfortable and practical, because of the increased productivity they will give you over the long term.
There you have it, the 6 key considerations you should be thinking about when buying nitrile gloves for use in a laboratory.
If you’re looking for a reputable glove supplier who can help you with this use case – then look no further than us here at Nastah. We’ve been doing this for years now and pride ourselves on delivering exceptional quality at reasonable prices for clients all around the world.
If your laboratory is looking to get some world-class nitrile gloves for your employees, then get in touch today! We’d love to see how we can help.