What are Gloves Used for in a Laboratory?

Gloves are a vital component of personal protective equipment (PPE) in laboratory environments. They act as a critical barrier, shielding the wearer's hands from hazardous materials such as chemicals, biological agents, and radioactive substances. Wearing gloves can help to protect laboratory workers from a variety of hazards, including:

  • Chemical exposure: Certain chemicals have the potential to penetrate the skin, leading to irritation, burns, or other health issues. Wearing gloves can serve as a preventive measure against such exposure.
  • Biological exposure: Laboratory personnel could potentially encounter a range of biological agents, such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Utilizing gloves can effectively mitigate the risk of direct skin contact with these agents.
  • Radioactive exposure: Radioactive materials have the potential to cause harm to both the skin and internal organs. The use of gloves can effectively safeguard laboratory workers from such exposure.
  • Cuts and abrasions: Laboratory work frequently entails the utilization of sharp objects like needles and glassware. Proper utilization of gloves can effectively safeguard hands against cuts and abrasions, ensuring a secure working environment.

Types of laboratory gloves

A diverse selection of laboratory gloves is readily accessible, and meticulously crafted to ensure comprehensive protection against a multitude of hazards. The repertoire includes some commonly used types of laboratory gloves such as:

  • Latex gloves: Latex gloves, derived from natural rubber, provide effective protection against a range of hazards, such as chemicals, biological agents, and radioactive substances. Nonetheless, it is important to note that latex gloves have the potential to induce allergic reactions in certain individuals.
  • Nitrile gloves: Nitrile gloves, derived from synthetic rubber, serve as a viable alternative for individuals allergic to latex. These gloves effectively safeguard against a range of hazards; however, it is worth noting that their durability may not match that of latex gloves.
  • Neoprene gloves: Neoprene gloves are made of synthetic rubber and exhibit excellent resistance to various chemicals, including solvents and oils. Additionally, neoprene gloves serve as a suitable alternative for individuals with latex allergies.
  • PVC gloves: PVC gloves are made from polyvinyl chloride and are effective at protecting against acids, bases, and other corrosive chemicals. PVC gloves are also durable and resistant to punctures.

When to wear gloves in the lab

Gloves are to be worn in situations involving potential exposure to hazardous materials, such as working with chemicals, biological agents, radioactive substances, and sharp objects. They should also be worn during spill cleanup and other tasks that may lead to hand contamination.


Gloves are vital PPE for lab workers, shielding against chemical, biological, and radioactive exposure, as well as cuts and abrasions. Protect yourself with gloves in the lab! It is important to choose the right gloves for the job and to use them safely.

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