Study recommends frequent replacement of gloves in certain circumstances

The Institute for Research in Occupational Health and Safety (Institut de Recherche en Sant̩ et en S̩curit̩ du Travail: IRSST) of Qu̩bec has published the results of a study conducted under workplace conditions showing that nanoparticles may penetrate certain gloves. The IRSST study comes in response to the exponential growth of industrial applications of nanotechnologies and the corresponding increased risk of occupational exposure.

Nanoparticles (or nanopowder or nanocluster or nanocrystal) are microscopic particles with at least one dimension less than 100 nm. Nanoparticle research is currently an area of intense scientific interest, due to a wide variety of potential applications in the biomedical, optical, and electronic fields.

Tests were performed to measure the resistance of four models of protective gloves of different thicknesses made of nitrile, latex, neoprene, and butyl rubber to the penetration of commercial TiO2 nanoparticles in powder form or colloidal solution.

Though inconclusive, the results appear to indicate that nanoparticles may penetrate some types of gloves, particularly when the gloves are subjected to repeated mechanical deformations, and the nanoparticles are in colloidal solution form. The report encouraged frequent replacement of gloves: especially thin ones: since the impact of mechanical stress reduced the quality of protection. Additionally, the report encouraged users of gloves working with nanaoparticles in a colloidal solution to change gloves immediately after task completion.

Read the full study.