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Title: Mechanical Performance of Latex and Nitrile Medical Exam Gloves Under Repeated Soap and Water Treatment
The human cost of the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a great toll, and led, around the globe, to a shortage in personal protective equipment (PPE) such as medical exam gloves. To face this shortage and keep themselves and patients safe, many front-line healthcare providers have been overextending the life of PPE. Though not ideal, one pragmatic solution often used is the practice of sanitization and extended use of existing PPE. The data produced by these experiments should help determine an acceptable reusability window of PPE in a working environment, by which the effective use time may be extended and justified. The effect of repeated sanitization, using soap and water, on the mechanical performance was investigated for latex and nitrile elastomeric medical exam gloves. Tensile tests were performed for various manufacturer brands commonly used in the United States (Glovepak Europa, Polymed and Sempersure) and India (Surgiglove). Tensile test samples were prepared for each studied glove and treatment combination. Nitrile gloves were observed to be more uniformly affected by the application of soap and water sanitization than latex gloves. Glovepak Europa nitrile gloves saw significant changes (p≤0.001) in elastic modulus after 5, 10 and 20 treatments losing 31.5%, 42.7% and 49.7%, respectively. Sempersure nitrile gloves also saw significant changes (p≤0.05) in more » elastic modulus at 5, 10 and 20 treatments losing 44.2%, 34.3% and 45.9%, respectively. Surgiglove nitrile gloves saw a significant loss in elastic modulus of 42.0% (p≤0.001) after 10 treatments. Surgiglove powder free latex showed no significant (p>0.05) change after 10 or 20 repeated treatments using soap and water. Polymed powder free latex showed no significant (p>0.05) change after 10 treatments, but did show a significant (p≤0.05) decrease in elastic modulus by 24.2% after 5 treatments and 25.5% after 20 treatments. Surgiglove powdered latex showed a significant (p≤0.05) increase in elastic modulus by 19.9% after 5 treatments and 15.8% after 10 treatments, while showing no significant (p>0.05) change at 20 treatments. Due to the consistent significant degradation after five repetitions, use of soap and water may not be an adequate sanitization procedure for nitrile gloves, since it would potentially induce premature failure. The latex gloves showed no clear pattern and the results were inconclusive. « less
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American journal of advanced research
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National Science Foundation
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