Guidelines for the right choice

Material Guide for Chemical Resistant Gloves

To date, there are a fairly large number of different materials that allow you to protect workers from the harmful effects of acids, alkalis, salts of heavy metals, caustic liquids and other chemically active substances. Our short guide to the materials used to make chemical resistant gloves will help you get started.

What are chemical resistant gloves?

There are many different types of chemical resistant gloves on the market. Typically, they are made from materials such as latex, nitrile, PVC, neoprene, butyl and viton-butyl, or a combination of the above. Depending on the severity of the chemical hazard and the application, some chemical resistant gloves are much more suitable than others.

That's why it's important to learn about the pros and cons of each of the different materials. Let's look at the important differences between them. 

Latex:

Often latex receives a negative assessment from consumers. However, in fact, latex can be very useful for various applications such as laboratory use, food processing, chemical production, cleaning, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and other industries.

Latex is flexible, resilient and durable, but unfortunately does not provide significant protection against punctures or abrasions. This is important to keep in mind if you are looking for a glove that will provide you with reliable protection not only from chemicals, but from mechanical influences.

However, if you're only looking for chemical protection, then latex might be a great choice! It resists nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, methanol and many other chemicals, including:

  • Formaldehyde
  • methanol
  • Acetone
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Potassium hydroxide
  • Sodium hydroxide

According to the University of Berkeley, latex also protects against biological and aquatic materials. As you can see, latex can be an extremely useful material for those who require hand protection from chemical hazards.

However, when it comes to latex, the main downside is the potential for an allergic reaction. For this reason, people who are allergic to latex should opt for chemical resistant gloves made from a different material. 

PVC:

PVC or polyvinyl chloride, a material that has good mechanical strength, retains excellent flexibility, and also provides good adhesion. For this reason, they are excellent for commercial fishing, maintenance, mining, mechanical, construction and petrochemical applications.

PVC is an excellent choice for many jobs because it resists several chemicals including ammonium hydroxide, benzyl alcohol, boric acid, creosote, fluorides, silicates, and dilute sulfuric acid. PVC will also protect your hands from:

Sodium hypochlorite
Photodetector holder
Phosphoric acid
methanol
Household detergents
ethylene glycol
Chromic acid

According to the University of Berkeley, chemical resistant PVC gloves will protect you from acids, amines, peroxides and grease. PVC gloves are an excellent choice for many industries, but PVC is also not recommended if you are looking for special protection against organic solvents or if work involves contact with hot surfaces or substances, as it provides low heat resistance. 

Nitrile:

Nitrile gloves provide a wide range of protection against a variety of hazards. Also among the advantages of this material are hypoallergenicity and high resistance to punctures. Nitrile is less elastic, but if a puncture or tear occurs, it is easier to spot it in a nitrile glove than in other materials.

In addition, nitrile also resists solvents, grease, certain acids and bases, and oils. Nitrile gloves are also an excellent choice if you intend to work with any of the following chemicals:

Aniline
Asphalt
benzyl alcohol
Brake fluid
cutting oil
Cyclohexane
fertilizers
Petrol
Household detergents
Mineral oil
Oil
Domestic bird
xylene
And many, many more

Because it protects against a range of hazards and does not cause an allergic reaction, nitrile is one of the most popular materials for chemical resistant gloves. However, it should be understood that the type of chemical resistant glove you need will depend on what chemicals or chemical compounds you use and what other hazards (such as punctures) are present in your workplace.

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