We make gloves available , but I personally encourage students to wear them only in situations where they ar e warranted. In my judgment, in many labs the chemicals in use provide no significant skin hazard, especially when a quick rinse with readily-available tap water is possible even in instances where perhaps some dermal hazard might exist (for extende d exposure.) The skin is a pretty good barrier, but there are surely chemicals that can destroy and/or penetrate skin. For some dermal hazards, the gloves that might “be routinely available” in lab may not provide protection, either, so unlike splash goggles that provide virtu ally all-encompassing eye protection, “gloves” might not protect the skin depending upon the chemical and the glove. Wearing t he wrong glove may be worse than wearing no glove. And, this email threa d is about “student labs” where many of the most dangerous der mal hazards would be avoided in the first place. (HF in general chemistry? I think not!)
Also, unlike goggles, gl oves are disposable, which incurs the cost that prompted this email thread. I don’t “discourage” glove use, but (I think that) some students use th em more routinely than others, and perhaps more than necessary (perhaps relate d to bouts of chemophobia that may not be warranted). Some students realiz e that gloves become uncomfortable to wear after awhile. Safety o verrides comfort (as with some goggles, for some students), to be sure, but when the re is no need for gloves why endure discomfort? Gloves may or may not hinder manipulations; in principle they shouldn’t, but inexperienced users don’t make what others might consider “good judgment̶ 1; in many situations.
Finally, I recall readin g (about 40 years ago) some human behavior study that indicated that some drivers dr ove faster when wearing seat belts (when these were new devices in cars) since they “felt safer” wearing the seat belt and therefore “felt sa fer to drive faster.” (This was hardly the intended effect of weari ng seat belts, and I’d guess not a universal response for all personalit y types.) But, I wonder, if some students won’t feel somewh at less need to be careful about spilling solutions or solvents when they are wearing protective gloves? Just speculation; no data, not even pseudo-data like an anecdote!
It could be argued that it is prudent to wear gloves all of the time (just as we mandate splash goggles a ll of the time) but for me, the arguments above about cost, comfort, lack of n eed in many lab situations, and the possibility of using the wrong glove materi al all argue for a more tempered, occasional use of gloves. Of cou rse, one idiosyncratic allergic reaction by one student out of a thousand can le ad to universal CYA-motivated use that, in my judgment, could end up doing mor e damage than good over the long haul for the other 999+ that follow. A las.
P.S. Here is a lis t of resources that may be helpful regarding glove selection:< /p>
This chart is sorted by categories of chemicals. Gloves types are indicated; no thickness information. p>
This chart has an alphabetical list of chemicals. Gloves types are indicated; no thickness information. p>
General categories and characteristics of glove materia ls.
Allows users to search by either specific chemical or specific gloves. Extensive information provided.< /p>
Alphabetical listing of chemicals. Several glove materials listed, with thickness indicated.
Information on nitrile gloves for many chemicals. <
PDF file with many gloves and chemical listed.
This chart has an alphabetical list of chemicals. Gloves types are indicated; relatively thick gloves tested.
David C. Finster
Professor of Chemistry
University Chemical Hygiene Officer
Department of Chemistry
We provide them in our undergraduate chemistry/biochemistry labs, amid some gnashing of teeth over the cost! We do require students to purchase their own safety goggles. I don’t know what other undergraduate lab classes provide – bio logy, geology, etc.
Debbie M. Decker, Campus Chemical Safety Officer
Environmental Health and Safety
University of California, Davis
1 Shields Ave.
Davis, CA 95616
Co-Conspirator to Make the World A
Better Place -- Visit www.HeroicS tories.com and join the conspiracy
As the staff of the Chemistry & Biochemistry Teaching Labs, we have been asked to propose ideas for saving money, as bud gets are only getting tighter over the next few years. One idea proposed is that we stop providing gloves ad lib. to students, but have them buy & bring th eir own. We currently supply either nitrile or PVC examination (thin, single-us e) gloves in our labs.
Do you provide/require gloves for student labs? span>
Sheila M. Kennedy, CHO
Chemistry & Biochemistry Teaching Laboratories
University of California, San Diego
Previous post | Top of Page | Next post