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Disposable gloves in boxes labeled exam or examination are labeled with that word to characterize them as having been manufactured primarily for the (medical use) purpose of protecting medical care and medical research workers from biological materials, i.e. viruses, bacteria, feces, urine, vomit, blood. THEY ARE NOT DESIGNED FOR, and USUALLY HAVE NOT BEEN TESTED FOR resistance to chemicals.

Always choose gloves after finding some evidence that they will protect you against the materials you will be using. Disposable gloves of any sort afford EXTREMELY MINIMAL PROTECTION from chemical hazards. Don't use them at all unless you know what they're good for, and don't continue to wear them when they've become contaminated.

There is much information published about the chemical resistance of gloves and glove materials, and it is almost always for non-disposables. Most glove manufacturers will send you one or several copies of their data if you phone them. Never assume that disposable gloves will have the same protection factors nor even the same properties as disposables.

glove material terms:

  • "Vinyl" = poly(vinylchloride) ...CH-CHCl-CH-CHCl-CH-CHCl-....
  • "Nitrile" = acrylonitrile/butadiene, aka NBR
  • "Chloroprene" = polychloroprene rubbers, CR, Neoprene

Also, please do not wear used gloves outside of the laboratory (not in the hallways).

* NIEHS list links to Health and Safety reports for small group of chemicals, and recommends glove material for each.