Student Research: Jackelin Tran

Effects of Glove Material and Thickness on Permeation by Solvents Commonly used in the Auto Painting Industry


Objectives: This study evaluated golve performance based on solvent permeation through thin latex, thin nitrile, and thick nitrile gloves widely used in the auto painting industry using a permeation panel. The paint formulation used in this study contains a complex mixture of solvents consisting of ketones, acetates, and aromatics. The findings were summarized to provide best-practice recommendations for glove usage and the results were compared with solvent compatibility charts from glove manufacturers.

Method: The main advantage of the permeation panel compared to a conventional permeation cell (ASTM F739 standard test cell) is that the panel is sprayed with paint, and therefore simulates actual spray painting workplace conditions. The permeation cells allow glove material to be in direct contact with the solvents. Gloves sprayed directly represent the worst-case exposure scenario while spray painting. Charoal clothabsorbent was used to analyze the permeation of each component in the mixture.

Results: Latex gloves allowed the greatest permeation for all eight solvents evaluated in comparison to thin nitrile and thick nitrile gloves. M-xylene showed the greatest average permeation difference between latex and nitrile glove material. Thick nitrile gloves had an average permeation of <0.20% for all solvents.

Conclusions Data from the manufacturers suggest that nitrile gloves offer poor chemical resistance to ketones but recommend their use for aroomatic hydrocarbons and vice versa for latex gloves. Our findings disagree with some of the recommendations by the three manufacturing companies. The results from this study indicate that nitrile gloves offer adequate chemical resistance to the eight solvents studied relative to latex gloves. Thin nitrile gloves offer adequate protection against sovlent permeation through glove material, however, for even better protection; thick nitrile gloves (8mil) should be used. Thin latex gloves should not be used to protect against dermal exposure to ketones and aromatic hydrocarbons. We recommend replacing used gloves with new ones after 30 minutes. The results from this study will help to suggest what best-practice recommendations for glove usage from the manufacturers are adequate to protect workers from dermal exposure to solvents.