Student Research: Ronald L. Tubby

, , 1991
Faculty Advisor: Michael S Morgan

Permeation of Selected Glove Materials by Methyl Ethyl Ketone and Toluene Mixtures


The selection of personal protective equipment requires accurate data on material resistance to permeation. Frequently, safety professionals are called upon to recommend appropriate materials for use in industrial situations where workers handle mixtures of solvents. Unfortunately, few references are available that consider the permeability of solvent mixtures. Eztrapolations from pure solvent permeabilities and best guesses fill the void and can lead to erroneous selections and potentially increased worker exposures.

This study examined the permeability of natural rubber, nitrile, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), and Silver Shield glove materials to mixtures of methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) and toluene in challenge concentrations from 0 to 100 percent of each component. The objective of this study was to determine if certain glove materials are susceptible to permeation by MEK/toluene mixtures compared to pure solvents alone, and to recommend the most appropriate glove material to use with these mixtures.

The results from these experiments demonstrated that glove material selection based on pure solvent permeation data can lead to erroneous decisions when mixtures are the challenge permeant. It was found that neither natural rubber or nitrile was effective at resisting permetion of MEK/toluene mixtures. PVA and Silver Shield performed well and resisted permeation for the duration of the hour-hour experiments.