Using gloveboxes is critical to ensure contamination control in cleanrooms
however a wrong glove choice may turn out to be expensive in terms of
dexterity, resistance, safety, etc. However, if appropriate gloves are
selected these and other concerns may not haunt the cleanroom staff.
Contamination control goes hand in hand with safety in environments
where sterility is a top priority. In most such cases either the staff
requires protection from an harmful exposure or an object needs to be
safeguarded e.g. pharmaceutical drug
Further, for small procedures that can be performed in sealed units,
can easily make use of isolators or glove boxes effectively. Essential
to the operational success of using isolators and glove boxes is the
choice of cleanroom gloves
The problem can be solved by an understanding of the requirements and
availability of options to ensure operational efficiency.
Some Important Considerations
- Usually isolator and glove-box units come installed with
heavy-duty latex or neoprene gloves. However, they may not be a perfect
fit for several reasons. For instance, in a medical preparations
scenario, where guarding for latex protein
allergy is critical these glove may not make up for the best buy. In
addition even the latex gloves made using the coagulant dipping process
are also prone to shedding particles.
- Neoprene on the other hand may pose its own unique challenges.
First, it too isn't free from particle shedding. Second, it can hamper
dexterity via its heavy duty nature. Third, the neoprene gloves being
available only in a handful of sizes may render them a bad fit for
staff members. Four, the glove being low on flexibility and
incorporating unnatural hand shapes may make it a candidate for causing
repetitive strain injuries.
- At the same time, options within the category incorporating
different sleeve-glove combinations can reduce the risks and improve
dexterity. A couple of such options comprise a cuff mechanism that
attaches the glove close to the sleeve and prevents gaps and
contamination. These gloves could either be made from heavy duty
materials providing a robust sleeve or they could be made from finer
materials. While the robust gloves may be more durable and have less
costs associated with frequent replacement, the finer gloves supersede
them in terms of dexterity.
- Gloves made from materials such as butyl rubber or Viton are more
sophisticated. The Butyl rubber serves as material with a superior
flexibility at the same time offers a decent gas impermeability and
ozone resistance in laboratory conditions. Viton on the other hand is
well-known for its resistance to aromatic hydrocarbons and chlorinated
- Another sophisticated option for glove material is that of
Hypalon. This is a chlorosulfonated polyethylene and offers good
protection and can withstand demanding conditions including exposure to
high temperatures, oxidizing chemicals and oxidizing environments such
as ozone, active oxygen, free radicals and other laboratory chemicals and gases . Further, it offers a good resistance against flames in addition to good mechanical and low temperature properties.
Considering the availability of a wide array of glove and glove
materials, a well thought out purchase decision will ensure not only
safety but productivity and cost-effectiveness too.