Nitrile gloves are made from synthetic rubber that shows superior resistance against tears, abrasions, biological agents, and chemical hazards in comparison to latex and vinyl gloves. For this reason, it is the go-to glove across many industries, particularly those that handle potentially hazardous substances, such as chemical agents.
In this article, we want to dig deeper into the chemical resistance that nitrile gloves can provide. If nitrile gloves are chemical resistant, what chemicals can they protect the wearer from? How can you tell if your nitrile gloves are chemical resistant? And what else can you do to protect yourself from chemical hazards?
Let’s find out!
Are Nitrile Gloves Chemical Resistant?
First things first, are nitrile gloves chemical resistant? Yes, they are. As mentioned earlier, nitrile gloves provide a high level of protection against all sorts of industrial hazards, including abrasions, punctures, biological hazards, and chemicals.
The main reason for this is that nitrile rubber contains acrylonitrile, butadiene, and carboxylic acid monomers, which are resistant to a lot of chemicals that are commonly found in the workplace.
This brings us to our next question: are all nitrile gloves chemical resistant?
Nitrile gloves are designed to protect the wearer from chemical hazards, but remember that not all nitrile gloves are made equal. Some have quicker degradation time, breakthrough time, as well as permeation rate, which affects how fast it would take for chemicals to reach the skin while wearing a nitrile glove.
Let’s discuss each factor in detail:
The physical changes that occur in the glove when it comes in contact with a chemical. These may include softening, swelling, cracking, and shrinking, among others. Different gloves from different manufacturers can show varying signs of degradation.
Breakthrough time refers to how long it takes to detect a chemical inside the glove when the exterior is exposed. High-quality nitrile gloves have a breakthrough time of eight hours or longer when they are exposed to chemicals.
When a breakthrough in the glove occurs, the permeation rate refers to the time it takes for the substance to pass through the rubber.
The lower the figures for degradation, breakthrough time, and permeation rate–the better the protection the nitrile glove provides.
However, it is important to remember that wearing nitrile gloves does not protect you completely from chemical hazards–just like wearing a helmet does not completely guarantee your safety on the road. Thin nitrile rubber provides limited protection against chemicals; they are not meant to be worn continuously after your gloved hands come in contact with chemicals.
Which Chemicals Are Nitrile Gloves Resistant To?
Nitrile gloves are more resistant to certain substances than others. Nitrile offers good resistance to:
- Weak acids
- Weak caustics
- Household detergents
- Some organic solvents
- Vegetable oils
- Petroleum products
On the other hand, nitrile does not provide good resistance to:
- Strong acids
- Halogenated hydrocarbons
- Aromatic hydrocarbons
As you can see, nitrile gloves are not chemical-proof, but they do offer good resistance to certain chemical substances. With that in mind, it is crucial to remember this work safety tip: if your nitrile gloves come in contact with hazardous chemicals, remove and discard them immediately.
How Can You Tell If Your Nitrile Gloves Are Chemical Resistant?
Buying the right nitrile gloves is key to protecting yourself against chemical hazards, as well as other workplace dangers. Any nitrile glove offers some level of chemical resistance, but if you want superior protection, select a glove that is thicker, has a longer breakthrough time, and is made with higher-quality nitrile rubber.
Pro tip: check the manufacturer’s chemical-compatibility testing data to see if the glove will be sufficient for your intended application.
Better yet, check out this list of the best nitrile gloves to get you started on your search.
Tips For Staying Safe Around Chemicals
Are nitrile gloves chemical resistant? Yes, but there is a limit to the level of protection that they can provide.
Handling chemicals is probably one of the most dangerous job tasks in the world. In mere seconds, a chemical spill can cause severe injury or even illness to the handler and other workers nearby. That said, it is extremely important to actively practice safety precautions when working with chemicals, such as:
Buy Quality Nitrile Gloves
The quality of your nitrile gloves largely determines how well they can protect you against workplace hazards. To ensure that you get the highest level of protection, buy nitrile gloves online that pass all the required safety standards and are proven to be effective in your industry.
Remove & Throw Away Gloves Properly
When a chemical substance comes in contact with your gloves, carefully remove and dispose of them in the proper waste bin. Check out doffing (proper glove removal to avoid contact with the exterior of the glove) tutorials for more insights.
Speaking of disposal, nitrile gloves can be recycled only if they did not make any contact with dangerous substances. So, if you are working with chemicals, biological agents, and other hazardous substances, recycling is out of the question, unfortunately.
Consult a Superior When in Doubt
Not sure where to dispose of your gloves? Don’t know how to properly discard a particular chemical? When in doubt, always, always ask a superior before making a decision. Keep in mind that chemicals can react with other substances or materials when improper disposal occurs, so never take the risk.
Are Nitrile Gloves Chemical Resistant? Wrapping Things Up
So, are nitrile gloves chemical resistant? Yes, for the most part. Most nitrile gloves offer a good level of resistance to certain chemicals, making them a great all-around work glove.
However, are all nitrile gloves chemical resistant? Some offer more protection than others. With that being said, buy your nitrile gloves from the best PPE shop online–Primo Dental Products. Here at Primo, we value quality above everything else, so you can rest assured that every product offers only the best level of protection that money can buy.