Volume 27, Issue 6 (November 1999)
Environmental Degradation of Natural Rubber Latex Gloves: The Effects of Elevated Temperature on Tensile Strength
Various styles of latex gloves were oven-aged for 7, 14, and 21 days at 70°C and then subjected to tension testing per ASTM D 412. Five of seven powder-free glove styles exhibited dramatic decreases in tensile strength after 7 to 14 days at 70°C, with total decreases in tensile strength ranging from 70 to over 90% after 21 days of aging. These five styles were examination gloves that were later confirmed to be chlorinated. In contrast, a chlorinated surgical glove, a non-chlorinated examination glove, and all of the powdered gloves (examination and surgical) subjected to the same conditions exhibited total decreases in tensile strength ranging from 0 to 25% after 21 days. These results suggest that chlorination, a process commonly used in the manufacture of powder-free gloves, may have detrimental effects on the ability of natural rubber latex to retain its barrier integrity after exposure to severely elevated temperatures.