Testing Glove’s Pesticide Permeability

Many food producing plants are sprayed with pesticides of some kind. Currently the greatest source of human contamination with these pesticides is on the hand of the people who work in the fields. They come into contact with the plants before they can be washed and depending on the quality of gloves provided the risk of contamination can be high. A new scientific paper has recently been published describing how  different brands of gloves often used by amateur gardeners were tested to see how permeable they were to three common pesticides:  acetamiprid (C10H11ClN4), pirimicarb (C11H18N4O2) and chlorpyrifos-methyl  (C9H11Cl3NO3PS). The conditions these gloves would be under in use was reproduced as best as possible. Chlorpyrifos-methyl was found to pass through latex gloves with ease, penetrating in less than 20 minutes. Although  acetamiprid and pirimicarb took a couple of hours to pass through neoprene and latex and all three had a breakthrough time of around 8 hours for butyl gloves. Vinyl and nitrile gloves held back the pesticides for around an hour but the surprising results came from the observations after the gloves had been compromised. Even four days after the original exposure non of the pesticides has been observed exiting the gloves and when the interior was tested the concentration for all three were high. This means that over repeated use the gloves fail and perhaps even make the situation worse holding the pesticides inside. Even water proof gloves are not necessarily pesticide proof and in the future safety information for these gloves should include not only expected  breakthrough time but also capacity to hold these chemicals. The importance of educating non occupational plant handlers who might be exposed is also necessary.


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