Behind the Innovation
Working in a cleanroom can be characterized as a marathon, not a sprint. So it’s important the protective equipment worn, like gloves, is able to go the distance. Providing the necessary level of protection required, while ensuring one’s ability to work for long periods of time without causing skin irritation is imperative.
While many industries have moved away from latex gloves, latex is not the only common glove allergy. Accelerators are often used as part of the cleanroom glove manufacturing process to help stabilize the raw materials to form a strong, elastic product.
These accelerators used to produce many non-latex gloves can cause Type IV allergies, also known as a hypersensitivity reaction. This is an inflammatory reaction the body produces when exposed to certain allergens or accelerants. Natural rubber or sulfur-based chemical accelerators in non-latex gloves can cause allergic contact dermatitis (a common Type IV allergy), resulting in a rash with bumps or blisters that can impact the ability of cleanroom staff to properly do their job. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cases of contact dermatitis lead to an estimated annual cost exceeding $1 billion.
Natural rubber or sulfur-based chemical accelerators in non-latex gloves can cause allergic contact dermatitis (a common Type IV allergy), resulting in a rash with bumps or blisters that can impact the ability of cleanroom staff to properly do their job.
For a clinician who changes gloves each time they enter an exam room, this may not be an issue, but for cleanroom employees who need to wear the same pair of gloves for an extended period of time, a reaction to the chemical accelerators can build up, especially for those with Type IV allergies. In one study focused on healthcare workers with hand eczema, all who switched to accelerator free gloves improved their situation, and two thirds of patients were completely free of symptoms.
Similar to how glove manufacturers and healthcare systems adapted to meet the needs of those with latex allergies by providing latex-free products, manufacturers have developed cleanroom gloves to meet the needs of those with Type IV allergies and sensitivities to latex or chemical accelerators. Brands, like HALYARD*, have developed and offer accelerator-free cleanroom gloves with low dermatitis potential. These gloves provide the same level of protection as traditional cleanroom gloves – recommended for use in ISO Class 3 cleanroom environments or higher, providing effective barrier protection against chemical splash, microorganisms and viruses – while still allowing for the flexibility and comfort needed when being worn over long periods of time.
The work done in cleanrooms is important and highly specialized, and those working in this industry deserve gloves that reflect the work they are doing. Accelerator-free cleanroom gloves, like HALYARD* PUREZERO* Nitrile Gloves, provide employees with the high level of barrier protection needed while reducing the risk of allergies and skin irritation; thus, allowing workers to focus on the job at hand, rather than what’s on their hands.