Myth 6: Powder-free gloves are always “clean”

In the days when powdered gloves were regularly used in the laboratory, these were generally understood to be “dirty” having undergone minimal processing whilst the powder represented a significant contaminant. Powder-free gloves traditionally underwent washing and particularly chlorination to remove powder used as a release agent in the manufacturing process. However manufacturers are increasingly opting for powder-free gloves that are not washed and chlorinated. Instead of powder, a polymer coating or wax is used as the release agent. Whilst these gloves may qualify as powder-free, it should be noted that the coating can cause skin sensitivities and contribute to process contamination. To see whether your gloves have this coating, just spray the gloved hands with alcohol then rub your hands together. If it’s present you’ll notice very quickly how slippery your hand become, but even better if you touch a glass window you’ll see the coating rapidly crystallise.

Reality: Powder-free gloves may have high levels of residual chemicals on them

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