Article ID: 2019-0146
The purpose of this study was to investigate the permeation of the glycol ethers, 2-ethoxyethanol (2-EE) and 2-butoxyethanol (2-BE) through disposable, nitrile exam gloves using a modified ASTM closed-loop module. The purple unsupported, unlined, powderless nitrile glove from Kimberly-Clark was challenged by the two pure glycol ethers. Their permeation parameters were measured with the aid of a 2.54 cm ASTM F739 closed-loop permeation cell using water collection at 35.0 ± 0.5oC in a moving tray water bath, and capillary gas chromatography-mass spectrometry for quantification. Each set of experiments consisted of four standard permeation cells with water as the collection solvent. The steady state permeation rate for 2-EE of 4.83 ± 0.45 µg/cm2/min was about 4 times that of 2-BE (1.27 ± 0.11 µg/cm2/min). Permeation of the more nonpolar 2-BE was less than for 2-EE. Both solvents exceeded the ASTM threshold normalized breakthrough time in the closed-loop testing module. Glove samples failed to pass permeation criteria defined by Kimberly Clark and Ansell. Such gloves are not recommended as personal protective equipment for exposure to 2-butoxyethanol or 2-ethoxyethanol, even for very short period exposures. Glove manufacturers should reconsider existing permeation testing method for low volatile compounds and apply the closed-loop module due to higher sensitivity and accuracy.