ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences




The use of protective gloves alone may be of doubtful value unless other strict working practices are also observed.89 Viruses such as adenovirus, poliovirus and vaccinia virus, readily penetrate many types of gloves manufactured from synthetic latex, vinyl and natural materials.90 Gloves, however should be worn whenever there is a potential risk from the procedure being used or the substances being handled. This includes the following:

  • all specimen cutting
  • acid cleaning
  • weighing dyes and potentially dangerous chemicals
  • handling blood or tissue samples from any source
  • cleaning centrifuges and cryostats or when handling glass

All gloves should be disposable, of good quality and strength and constructed of material suitable for the procedure being carried out (for example thick rubber for cleaning centrifuges).91 Neoprene gloves do not soften as readily as polythene gloves when exposed to xylene. On completion of the task gloves must be disposed of either by incineration, autoclaving or burial.

Lightweight, flexible gloves constructed from 'Kevlar aramid' are cut resistant, and are recommended for autopsy work to reduce the risk of inoculation injury.92

Chemical resistance of common glove materials to a range of chemicals is given in TABLE 7.


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