Understanding Glove Chemical Permeation

Industry News

Keep Your Hands Safe
From Chemical Risks

Complications From Chemical Exposure & Burns

During chemical operations, it is not always apparent when exposure occurs. Many chemicals pose invisible hazards and offer no warning properties. Hazards include:

  • Systemic Toxicity
  • Lung Congestion
  • Poor Healing of Dermal Burn
  • Wound Infection
  • Redness at the Contact Site
  • Necrosis or Deep Tissue Damage
  • Muscle Twitching or Seizures
  • Kidney Injury Caused by Toxins


Workplace Safety

OSHA has set specific guidelines for the appropriate handling of caustic and/or hazardous materials. However, exposure can still occure. Chemical exposure and skin burns often happen due to glove tearing, degradation, and pinholes. Here are important considerations when considering the correct hand protection:

  • Employer’s failure to adhere to safety guidelines that led to chemical burns may result in worker’s compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
  • Employee’s injury can cause long-term or permanent disability, work restriction, pain, difficulty in recovery, and financial burden.


Chemicals by the Numbers

157,000 120,000 70,000
Chemicals identified by CAS #s, according to the most comprehensive global inventory. Substances that could not be conclusively identified. Mixtures, and substances of unknown or variable composition.

Source: Environ. Sci. Technol. 2020, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.9b06379. Individual chemicals, mixtures, polymers, and other substances were identified by CAS numbers.


Chemical Permeation Facts

Chemical Mixtures Thermometer Icon Single-Use Icon Chemical Burn Icon Fabrication Icon
Pure chemicals and mixtures may have different glove permeation. (e.g., 10% Nitric Acid is more corrosive than 50% Nitric Acid) Labs test the gloves in lower temperatures than the skin. Chemical permeation increases with temperature. Re-using gloves may affect its acceptable use time and protection level. Manufacturing tolerances mean that different batches of gloves may show variation in permeation resistance. Pressure, stretching and abrasion of gloves in real-life situations may degrade performance.


Benefits of Chlorination Process

Chlorination is used to reduce the tackiness of gloves to improve the ease of donning. The gloves are dipped into an aqueous chlorinated solution during manufacturing. This process reduces surface friction, making the compound stable and better cross-linked.

SW gloves are manufactured with an online chlorination process, creating a “shield” that results to better chemical resistance and permeation.


Chemical Protection by SW

We assess stakeholder’s needs specific to the chemical’s concentration, blend, hazard, and application. We provide a recommendation for the correct glove within 24 hours.
Available ANSI and EN Chemical Guides for single-use and reusable gloves is published on the SW website library. Use the easy color-coded rating for glove and chemical suitability.
We advise on the most up to date standards for chemical permeation testing against chemotherapy agents, solvents, etc. SW provides clarity not only on the permeation but degradation and test methods.
Our R&D has the technology for chemical permeation testing with a fast turnaround time of 48 hours compared to 2-3 weeks from third-party laboratories; leading to cost savings and user safety.


Downloadable Chemical Permeation Guides