Permeability of 13 different gloves to 13 cytotoxic agents under controlled dynamic conditions

Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2006 Mar 15;63(6):547-56. doi: 10.2146/ajhp050197.


Purpose: The permeability of 13 different gloves to 13 cytotoxic agents under controlled dynamic conditions is described.

Methods: Thirteen cytotoxic agents were prepared at the highest concentrations normally encountered by pharmacy personnel. Four glove types--neoprene, natural rubber latex, nitrile, and vinyl--were exposed to the cytotoxic agents for 15, 30, and 60 minutes. Tests were conducted using the middle finger of each glove. Linearity, reproducibility, and sensitivity were evaluated for each drug tested. Assays were run using liquid chromatographic tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) and high-performance liquid chromatography with ultraviolet light (HPLC-UV). Permeability testing was conducted using an original system designed to evaluate dynamic constraints, such as rubbing, stretching, and tension.

Results: Linearity by LC/MS/MS and HPLC-UV was confirmed at concentrations up to 1000 ng/mL for all drugs. Most glove materials were permeable at rates below ASTM recommendations over the one-hour testing period. Vinyl was the most permeable material. Carmustine permeated the widest variety of materials. Due to the high sensitivity of the analytic methods, all materials displayed low but significant permeability for at least one drug after one hour. Higher resistance to permeation was recorded for all neoprene, some natural rubber latex, and one nitrile glove.

Conclusion: Neoprene, natural rubber latex, and nitrile gloves displayed the highest resistance to permeation of the 13 cytotoxic agents studied. Additional factors, such as duration of exposure, glove thickness, and drug liposolubility and molecular weight, also affected permeability.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Gloves, Protective*
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Neoprene / chemistry
  • Nitriles / chemistry
  • Permeability
  • Polyvinyls / chemistry
  • Rubber / chemistry
  • Time Factors


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Nitriles
  • Polyvinyls
  • Rubber
  • Neoprene