Archives of environmental contamination and toxicology

Transport of a solvent mixture across two glove materials when applied in a paint matrix.

PMID 22434453


The transport of mixed paint solvents through natural rubber latex (4 mil) and nitrile rubber (5 mil) gloves was evaluated after spray application of the paint formulation directly on the glove surface. Glove materials and thicknesses were those selected by the majority of spray painters in the local automobile repair industry. A flat panel containing glove specimens mounted in multiple permeation cells permitted evaporation of solvents from the applied paint and incorporated a solid sorbent receiving medium for measuring glove membrane transport. The panel was sprayed in a paint booth to simulate use conditions. Charcoal cloth under the glove adsorbed transported solvents, which were quantified by gas chromatography. For each solvent component, results were expressed as mass transported through the glove relative to the mass applied, per unit area, during 30 min after spray application. The paint formulation contained ketones, acetates, and aromatics. Natural rubber latex allowed 6-10 times the transport of solvents relative to nitrile rubber for all eight solvent components: methyl ethyl ketone, toluene, styrene, ethyl benzene, xylene isomers, and 2-heptanone. m-Xylene showed the largest difference in transport between the two glove materials. This solvent also had the highest transport for each material. The results indicate that nitrile rubber gloves offer somewhat greater chemical resistance to all eight solvents studied compared with natural rubber latex gloves, regardless of the chemical properties of the individual solvent components. However, it must be emphasized that neither of the glove materials, in the thicknesses used in this study, provide adequate protection when exposed by direct spray painting. Simulation of realistic spray conditions may offer a source of useful information on the performance of chemical protective gloves because it accounts for solvent evaporation and the effect of paint polymerization after application on glove transport.