Tested Chemical Resistance
safe with most chemicals

Chemical-Resistant – Tear Resistant

In brief, Protospheric Products, Inc. (PPI) low-density polyethylene (LDPE) Poly Gloves provide better protection than nitrile gloves. The PPI LDPE Poly Gloves are more chemical-resistant and tear resistant making them a more cost-effective disposable glove, compared to nitrile. The PPI Poly Gloves may also provide greater liability protection according to use.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there is no ANSI standard for gloves for hand protection, but OSHA recommends glove selection be based upon the tasks to be performed and performance and construction characteristics of the glove material. For protection against chemicals, glove selection must be based on the chemicals encountered, chemical resistance, and physical properties of the glove material. To provide a meaningful comparison of PPI Poly Gloves with nitrile gloves, it is important to know specifications of the nitrile gloves (such as thickness), and which tests were conducted and if they were conducted according to recognized standards.

Nitrile gloves, as well as PPI Poly Gloves come in different thicknesses, formulas, and hardness, depending on their intended use. Consequently, generalizations are difficult to make between the two types of gloves unless similar characteristics, specifically thickness, can be compared. This is extremely important in considering physical tests such as tear strength.

Chemical resistance of gloves indicates LDPE outperforms nitrile, as seen in the Table 1, which was prepared from information provided by different manufacturers. Test standards require testing against chemicals with different characteristics that are shown in Table 1, many of which will not be encountered by end users in these concentrations outside of a laboratory environment. However, consumer products will contain some of the chemicals found in the table. To compare chemical reactivity between LDPE and nitrile, the following information was obtained from different manufacturer’s sources.

Table 1 – Common Chemicals

The chemicals listed below represent different classes of compounds, and they are used in standard test methods to determine chemical penetration over 8 hours.

acetic acid, glacialOrganic acidEF
AcetonitrileNitrile compoundNTP
25% ammonium hydroxideOrganic baseEF
Carbon disulfideOrganic compound containing sulfurFP
DichloromethaneChlorinated paraffinFP
Ethyl acetateEsterEP
37% FormaldehydeAldehydeEE
40% Hydrofluoric acidInorganic mineral acidEE
30% Pydrogen peroxidePeroxideEG
HexaneSaturated hydrocarbonEE
MethanolPrimary alcoholEF
65% nitric acidInorganic mineral acidEP
40% Sodium hydroxideInorganic baseEE
96% Sulfuric acidInorganic mineral acidEF
TetrahydrofuranHeterocyclic and ether compoundEP
TolueneAromatic hydrocarbonEP
E - Excellent
G - Good
F - Fair
P - Poor
NT - Not Tested
From CPLab Safety, North Gloves, and Calpaclab information sheets

LDPE clearly out-performs nitrile gloves when a standard set of chemicals was used for comparison. Some manufacturers have also tested chemical resistance to specific consumer products and other materials that may be encountered around the house or at work. Visual inspection of PPI LDPE Poly Gloves clearly show resistance to degradation from exposure to consumer products for up to 8 hours using visual observations to ensure there was no stretching or leaking over time (Table 2).

Table 2 – Standard Consumer Products

Consumer products tested with PPI LDPE Poly Gloves for permeability and degradation.

Standard Consumer Chemicals
Pro strength Liquid PLUMR/Clorox (sodium hypochlorite/sodium hydroxide)
Ammonia, Publix brand (ammonium hydroxide)
Bleach, Clorox brand disinfecting (6% sodium hypochlorite)
Muriatic acid (31.5% hydrochloric acid)
Isopropyl alcohol (70%)
Synthetic Motor oil STP SYN 5W-30
Conventional motor oil Valvoline 10-30
Power steering fluid, AutoZone
2 cycle motor oil, StaMix 50:1
Brake fluid, DOT 3 AutoZone (Triethylene glycol monobutyl ether, diethylene glycol)
Grease, STP All Purpose
Fuel injector/carburetor cleaner fluid, Gumout (petroleum distillates)
Windshield wiper fluid, AutoZone
Antifreeze, AutoZone (48% ethylene glycol, 2% diethylene glycol)
Battery acid, AutoZone (37% sulfuric acid)
WD 40 (aliphatic hydrocarbons, petroleum base oil)
Gasoline, Shell 87, Volatile

Tear resistance was performed by an independent laboratory according to standard test conditions, and a similar PPI glove material (2.4 mil thickness, 0.06 mm) was superior to nitrile (4 mil, 0.1 mm). This glove material was 10 times more tear resistant. Because PPI LDPE Gloves are a more tear-resistant, they are more economical than nitrile gloves. Increasing length of the gloves may provide additional wrist protection, which results in a negligible cost difference in materials, but it requires manufacturing a new mold.

PPI prefers to use accepted standards for testing, such as those from the American Society of Test Materials (ASTM), American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and the International Standards Organization (ISO). This is because such standards are recognized by worldwide regulatory bodies.