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Selecting the right glove with Shield Scientific

Do you know when you need to wear a longer glove?

In February 2020 the ISO 21420:2020 standard came into force superseding EN 420:2003+A1:2009 and thus becoming an international standard. As everyone might know, this norm relates to the new general requirements for protective gloves. This new standard applies to PPE gloves (reusable gloves and disposable gloves) used in the laboratory and cleanroom workplaces. It is the responsibility of manufacturers of disposable gloves, such as latex gloves or nitrile gloves, to ensure that their PPE gloves are compliant with this new standard.

Taking all this into account, how do we select the right disposable latex or nitrile glove according to the environment or activity?

It’s worthwhile remembering that wearing protective gloves not only protects the worker against hazardous chemicals (danger of immersion or splashes) and biological hazards (infection or contamination), but also the process and products (from particle contamination).

Therefore, selecting the appropriate hand protection can be difficult in laboratory and cleanroom workplaces. It is essential to consider the most important factors (including the nature of the hazard, the task, the worker, and the workplace environment) collectively and not separately.

Workers in the laboratory need to consider the following criteria in the selection of latex gloves or nitrile gloves:

• What are the risks associated with the chemicals I am handling? To which biological hazards am I exposed? Etc.
• Are disposable or reusable gloves recommended?
• Which disposable latex or neoprene or nitrile gloves are appropriate to protect me from incidental chemical splashes or contact with chemicals or biological hazards?
• Do I need short or longer gloves?
• Etc.

For cleanroom environments, it’s a different story as additionally the process and the product may need to be protected from particle contamination:

In the cleanroom workplace, the most common cleanroom glove length is 300mm/11.8”. This length is in general enough to cover the hands and the wrist to avoid release of skin particles and bio contamination (as is well known humans are the primary source of contamination in a cleanroom). These 300 mm/11.8” cleanroom latex/nitrile gloves also offer good anchorage to the forearm. In recent years, we have observed an increase in usage of extra-long nitrile gloves and latex gloves in many cleanroom facilities. According to the latest revision of the EU GMP Annex 1 draft: “Manufacture of Sterile Medicinal Products”, when working in the most critical areas it is now recommended to do regular sampling of the sleeve (article 9.32) as well as the hand to demonstrate that there are 0 CFU – Colony-Forming Unit – (prior to this revision, the specifications on the sleeve was 5 CFU and no regular disinfection on the sleeve was necessary). With a longer sterile glove (from 400 to 600 mm) it is possible to spray the entire arm area with IPA, thereby minimizing the risk of deviations and associated lost production time.

To conclude, it is important to assess the length of the glove you require. Typically, the ideal length of laboratory and the cleanroom glove will vary depending on the level of personal and environmental protection you desire. For further help and assistance on selecting the right SHIELD glove for you, please contact

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