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3.4.1 Selecting the Proper Gloves

Before working with any chemical, always read manufacturer instructions and warnings on chemical container labels and SDSs. Recommended glove types are sometimes listed in the PPE section SDSs. If the recommended glove type is not listed on the SDS, then laboratory personnel should consult with the manufacturers’ glove selection charts. These charts typically include commonly used chemicals that have been tested for the manufacturers’ different glove types. Different manufacturers use different formulations so check the glove chart of the specific manufacturer for the glove you plan to use.

If the manufacturers’ glove chart does not list the specific chemical you will be using, then call the manufacturer directly and speak with their technical representatives to determine which glove is best suited for your particular application.

It is important to know that not all chemicals or mixtures have been tested by glove manufacturers. It is especially important in these situations to contact the glove manufacturer directly.

In some cases, you may need to consider hiring a testing laboratory that specializes in determining which glove material will be most resistant to the chemical you are using.  For more information, contact EHS at askEHS@cornell.edu.

Some general guidelines for glove use include:  

  • Wear appropriate gloves when the potential for contact with hazardous materials exists. Laboratory personnel should inspect gloves for holes, cracks, or contamination before each use. Any gloves found to be questionable should be discarded immediately.
  • Gloves should be replaced periodically, depending on the frequency of use and permeability to the substance(s) handled.
    • Reusable Gloves should be rinsed with soap and water and then carefully removed after use.
    • Discard disposable gloves after each use and whenever they become contaminated.  Do not reuse disposable gloves as this poses a risk of cross-contamination and can compromise research and health.
  • Due to potential chemical contamination, which may not always be visible, gloves must be removed before leaving the laboratory. Do not wear gloves while performing common tasks such as answering the phone, grabbing a door handle, using an elevator, etc. If you are required to have a glove on to hold something when leaving a lab, remove one glove and use the ungloved hand to touch door handles, elevators, etc.