Inhaled or in touch with the skin, nanoparticles may pose a health hazard to workers. Although research on the topic is still in development, it seems that nanoparticles can enter the respiratory tract or penetrate through the skin and make their way to the bloodstream that may carry the nanoparticles to various organs.
Gloves can protect the hand against coming into contact with most chemicals; however, nanoparticles are so small that they may be able to slip through the glove, onto the worker’s skin.
Numerous studies have been conducted on respiratory protection equipment (disposable and full facepiece masks), very few have so far been done on skin protection and especially gloves. What type of protective gloves should be used when dealing with nanoparticles?
An innovative research project funded by the IRSST tried to develop a method for measuring nanoparticle penetration into materials used to make protective gloves under conditions representative of the workplace setting.
In this Prévention au travail article, Ludwig Vinches, the lead researcher for this project, explains why the gloves are fragile.