The transmission of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from an ultraviolet transilluminator through three types of laboratory gloves (latex, nitrile, vinyl) was determined using two independent methods. First, transmittance was measured with a radiometer equipped with UVA and actinic UV detectors. Second, a spectrophotometer was used to determine the UVR transmittance vs. wavelength (250-440 nm); this data was then used to compute the effective attenuation of the glove material. The average UVA percent transmittance using the radiometer method with an unstretched glove was 73.4%, 0.18%, and 1.10%for vinyl, nitrile, and latex, respectively. The average actinic percent transmittance for an unstretched glove was 13.3%, 0.015%, and 0.024%for vinyl, nitrile, and latex, respectively. Slight increases in UVR transmittance resulted from stretching the gloves by 30%or wetting them with saline. Six hours of UVR exposure decreased transmittance of vinyl gloves and increased transmittance by latex gloves. Results from the spectrophotometer method and radiometer methods of determining UVR transmittance agreed that vinyl gloves had the highest transmittance; however, the spectrophotometer method greatly overestimated UV glove attenuation due to the effect of light scattering by the glove material. The study suggests that in some circumstances, vinyl gloves will provide inadequate protection against workplace ultraviolet radiation.
Purdue University, School of Health Sciences, West Lafayette, Indiana