Issuing gloves to workers is the most common approach to protecting against skin contact with hazardous chemicals. Typically, glove materials are selected and duration of wear is estimated based on comparisons of laboratory test data. Those who select the glove materials often fail to verify their selections by testing the glove during actual use. This failure poses a common but potentially serious hazard to workers. Although methods are available for assessing permeation rates during actual use, such testing is unlikely without acceptable exposure guidance criteria for decision making. This document reviews methods for testing glove performance during actual use and suggests an approach for estimating acceptable exposure guidance criteria for evaluation of chemicals that are systemically absorbed. It is the authors' opinion that as of now an approach to estimating exposure criteria for chemical irritants and sensitizers may not be feasible. With available data resources, acceptable glove exposure criteria could be generated for use in assessing the risk of using specific gloves for handling many compounds in occupational settings.
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