Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University


Persons handling materials or equipment which is likely to puncture, cut, abrade or irritate hands or arms, shall wear suitable gloves (i.e. leather, Kevlar®) which will provide adequate protection from such injury.

The type of gloves used shall be appropriate to the hazard to which the worker is exposed and provide an adequate level of protection.

Persons handling chemical substances which may be absorbed through the skin shall wear hand protection made of a suitable synthetic material, which is appropriate for protection from the substance being handled. Unlined synthetic gloves are preferred, since they are easier to clean and there is less tendency for the lining to become contaminated. No synthetic protective coating is completely chemically resistant. The resistance of the particular item depends on the thickness of the coating, the method of manufacture, combinations of other coatings, etc. When synthetic gloves are exposed to chemical substances, the amount of protection depends greatly on the substance being handled. Once the chemical substance has contaminated the inside of the glove, caused the deterioration of the material or otherwise penetrated the glove, it must be replaced immediately. Some applications will require the use of more than one type of synthetic glove in order to provide adequate protection.

The following table provides some general guidelines for use of different synthetic gloves, but it is not a complete list. The Health and Safety Department should be consulted to ensure that the correct type of glove is being used.

Table 1. Some Properties of Synthetic Materials

(List is not complete)

Glove Material Characteristics Tear/Abrasion Resistance
Butyl Rubber Limited chemical resistance to certain emulsifiable concentrate solvents and some pesticides. Can provide adequate protection against formaldehyde, creosote, and mild acids. Ideal for use with ketones (MEK and acetone) and esters (amyl acetate and ethyl acetate).
Natural Rubber
Good resistance to mild acids and some pesticides. Poor resistance to most organic or petroleum solvents and creosote. Good for protection from biohazards.
Good, but deteriorates in sunlight.
Neoprene Rubber Good resistance to wood preservatives and hydrocarbon solvents. Not very resistant to solvents such as xylene or acetone.
Good for abrasion and sunlight
Nitrile Rubber
(11 mil thickness)
Provides substantial protection against formaldehyde, some wood preservatives, some acidic pesticides. Good alternative for neoprene, natural rubber or unsupported vinyl gloves.
Good, but deteriorates in sunlight
Polyethylene Relatively good protection against formaldehyde, isopropyl alcohol, weak acids, and light oils. Not good protection against strong acids or most solvents.
Relatively poor
Polyvinyl Alcohol
Excellent resistance against many solvents. Deteriorates in the presence of water.
Relatively stiff with low puncture and abrasion resistance.
Polyvinyl Chloride
Good resistance to oils and petroleum products, also photographic developers. Not resistant to solvents such as xylene and acetone or acids.
Relatively good
(9 mil thickness)
Made specifically for handling chlorinated and aromatic solvents. Superior resistance to PCB's. Cannot be used for aldehydes. Applications include automotive / aircraft and chemical industries.
(Silver Shield) (4 mil thickness)
A lightweight, flexible laminate which resists permeation and breakthrough by an array of toxic/hazardous chemicals. Excellent choice for chemical and petrochemical laboratories, spill cleanups, hazmat operations, photo finishing and medical laboratories.