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Glove Selection Chart

 Type Advantages  Disadvantages  Use Against 
Cotton/Fabric Blend  Absorbs perspiration, keeps objects clean  No chemical resistance  Non-hazardous materials, slippery surfaces, mild heat or cold 
Natural Rubber Latex Low cost, good physical properties, dexterity  Poor vs. oils, greases, organics.  Frequently imported; may be poor quality.  May result in allergic reaction.  Bases, alcohols, dilute water solutions; fair vs. aldehydes, ketones, light irritant protection, infectious agents 
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)  Very good physical properties, medium cost, medium chemical resistance  Plasticizers can be stripped; frequently imported, may be poor quality  Strong acids, and bases, salts, other water solutions, alcohols, oils, greases and petroleum products
Neoprene  Medium cost, medium chemical resistance, medium physical properties, high tensile strength and heat resistance  None determined  Oxidizing acids, anilines, phenol, glycol ethers, solvent oils, mild corrosives 
Nitrile  Low cost, excellent physical properties, dexterity  Poor vs. benzene, methylene chloride, trichloroethylene, many ketones  Oils, greases, aliphatic chemicals, xylene, perchloroethylene; fair vs. toluene 
Butyl  Speciality glove, polar organics, high resistance to gas and water vapor  Expensive, poor vs. hydrocarbons, chlorinated solvents  Glycol ethers, ketones, esters 
Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA)  Speciality glove, resists a very broad range of organics, good physical properties  Very expensive, water sensitive, poor vs. light alcohols  Aliphatics, aromatics, chlorinated solvents, ketones (except acetone), esters, ethers 
Fluoroelastomer (Viton®) Speciality glove, organic chlorinated and aromatic solvents. Flexible. Extremely expensive, poor physical properties, poor vs. some ketones, esters, and amines  Aromatics, chlorinated solvents, also aliphatics and alcohols
Norfoil, Silver Shield®, 4H® Excellent chemical resistance Poor fit, stiff, easily punctured, poor grip  Use for Hazmat work 
Zetex® Good heat resistance  Poor grip, stiff  Replace asbestos gloves 
Leather  Good skin abrasion protection.  Good grip  Absorb chemical contaminants  Injuries from sparks or scraping against rough surfaces.  Used in combination with an insulated liner when working with electricity 
Metal Mesh  Speciality glove.  Protects against cuts when working with sharp tools  Expensive.  Some models may reduce ability to grip  Protect hands from accidental cuts and scratches.  Special micro-mesh versions available for use in high hazard procedures 
Aluminized  Speciality glove.  Heat resistant  Poor grip, discomfort.  Poor chemical resistance  Insulates hands from intense heat working with molten materials 

Glove Chemical Resistance Chart Vocabulary

Breakthrough Time: The elapsed time between initial contact of the chemical on the glove surface and the analytical detection on the inside of the glove. Typically expressed as a greater than symbol (>), this shows the test ran for 480 minutes and then stopped. Also may be expressed as "ND" for "None Detected".

Degradation: A change in one or more of the physical properties of a glove due to contact with a chemical. Can appear as a swelling, shrinkage or cracking of the material. Rating example is "E" for excellent, meaning the glove has little or no signs of degradation when exposed to the challenge chemical. A good degradation rating does not guarantee an acceptable breakthrough time.

Permeation Rate: The rate at which a chemical passes through a glove material. The process involves absorption on the glove surface, diffusion of the chemical through the material, and desorption on the inside surface of the glove. This is a complex measurement µg/cm2/MIN (micrograms per square centimeter per minute). This measurement is also limited to the "LDL" or Lower Detection Limit of the equipment used. The example give is .001, but is sometimes expressed as "E" or "P" for excellent or poor.


Glove Material Challenge Chemical Degradation Breakthrough Time Permeation Rate
Nitrile Isopropanol E >480 minutes .001