Not without Gloves: Perchloroethylene


There are a number of things you shouldn’t touch without gloves, but AMMEX has you covered with superior barrier protection. Perchloroethylene is a non-flammable, colorless, volatile organic compound frequently used in dry cleaning applications. It is also known as tetrachloroethylene, PCE and PERC. While dry cleaning fabrics is the most common use for PERC, it is also used to manufacture other chemicals, such as chlorofluorocarbons, rubber coatings, insulating fluid or cooling gas for electrical transformers, solvent soaps, printing inks, adhesives, leather treatments and automotive cleaners, among others.

Employees may be exposed to PERC if they work in a facility that dry cleans, degreases metal, produces chemicals, manufactures textiles or coats rubber, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

How are employees exposed to PERC?
Although PERC is the most common solvent used in dry cleaning, it poses serious health risks to workers, especially if employees regularly breathe in vapors or their skin comes into contact with the substance. Exposure may immediately lead to dizziness, blistering or irritation of the skin. Over time, exposure may cause loss of coordination, memory loss and delayed reaction times. Some studies have indicated PERC leads to an increased risk for esophageal, cervical, kidney, liver, skin, lung and bladder cancer, as well as lymphoma and leukemia, although it is unclear if other risk factors affect this. Several organizations, including the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), have classified PERC as a probable human carcinogen. Employees with heart, liver, kidney or lung diseases are at a heightened risk of the effects of PERC.

Dry cleaning workers may be exposed to high levels of this chemical when loading dirty clothes to a machine because contaminated air is forced out. In addition, removing clothes before a cycle is finished, transferring items, cleaning lint traps and changing solvent filters exposes employees to PERC.

How employers combat PERC exposure
Although most PERC-related health problems are caused by inhalation, the chemical may cause irritation after direct contact with the skin. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration limits PERC exposure in the workplace. Over the course of eight hours, workers should be exposed to no more than 100 parts PERC per million (PPM). The maximum PPM is 300. In addition to these federally regulated limits, facilities need to have the right protective gear on hand.

Industrial-grade latex and nitrile gloves protect workers who handle PERC, and face masks should be used to minimize exposure. AMMEX N95 Cone Masks are rated N95 by NIOSH, ensuring a high level of protection for employees.

Stay tuned for our next installment on lacquer thinner.

AMMEXNot without Gloves: Perchloroethylene
Read More

Millimeters to Grams: Change in the Glove Industry


How can you be sure you are choosing the right gloves for the job? Currently, glove performance is measured with millimeter thickness. However, this measurement is not the most accurate due to variations in thickness across a single glove. Disposable gloves are thickest in the fingertips and thinnest in the wrists due to how they are dipped in the manufacturing process.

Thickness measurements in millimeters have the potential to vary based on which part of the glove is measured, which is frequently the palm. The glove industry is transitioning to measuring gloves by weight in grams rather than in millimeters. Gram weight circumvents the variations in thickness across a single glove. With this shift, the terminology will change as well. Rather than labeling gloves as thin, manufacturers will refer to them by their weight or use – such as lightweight or heavy duty.

When did the glove industry start the shift?
Around 2006, lighter weight gloves were introduced for the first time, but they were not well received because the original formulation of the gloves did not provide sufficient barrier protection. In 2009, lightweight gloves with a new formulation were reintroduced, offering more options for clients. Because of changes in technology, lightweight gloves have become more popular, with even 2 mil gloves being acceptable for some uses.

Difference between millimeters and grams
Gloves need to provide barrier protection for the hand. The move to gram measurements would help standardize quality in the glove industry, although gram weight has not been transitioned to the end user yet. It will also provide clearer guidance for glove purchasing decisions because certain weights may be better suited for specific purposes than others. The current standard is 3 mil and premium gloves are 5 mil or higher, but they will need to be measured at the wrist, fingertips and palm. With an allowable 0.3 gram variation in either direction, weight provides a more accurate measurement of gloves. Gram weight also is a more accurate reflection of the amount of material used in a glove and requires only a simple digital scale rather than the use of specific tools, such as a micrometer.

AMMEXMillimeters to Grams: Change in the Glove Industry
Read More

Making the Grade: Posting Food Safety Scores


Consumers have become more concerned about what is in their food and how those products move from farm to table, and government regulators and restaurants around the world have stepped up to keep the public more informed about food safety. This trend is evident through posted food safety scores, which are becoming more visible to consumers.

The public wants to be in the know
Many of today’s consumers are cautious about the steps taken to process and serve their food. Food safety is of growing importance as indicated by widespread protests over genetically modified organisms, calls for improved labeling to detail nutrition facts and the public’s penchant for reading research about food processing to become savvier consumers.

“Food safety scores are becoming more visible to consumers.”

At the restaurant level, establishments are providing the details of their food safety inspections. Not only are consumers happy to have this information, they want to see comprehensive scores. In fact, a crowdfunded study commissioned by Dine Safe King County and conducted by researchers from the University of Washington’s Human Centered Design Department showed consumers want more than an overall pass/fail rating – they desire to see an itemized list of where restaurants are missing the mark.

With this trend in mind, how have regulators and members of food service industry responded?

How inspectors score restaurants
Local health departments assign food safety scores in various ways. These ratings are numerical, pass/fail or denoted with a letter-based grade. New York City, for example, evaluates restaurants using a points system, and point ranges correspond to a letter grade. Each violation accumulates more points, so to earn a passing grade, restaurants want as few points as possible.

To be transparent about these ratings, restaurants publish their scores. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services noted this includes posting the score or the entire report in the establishments.

Lawmakers in San Mateo County, California, implemented a new program to make these posted ratings easier for consumers to understand. This program will color code the score placards to match traffic signals: green means a restaurant passed, yellow indicates a conditional pass and red denotes a closed restaurant.

 

AMMEXMaking the Grade: Posting Food Safety Scores
Read More

Chemical Resistance in Disposable Gloves


When working with certain abrasive chemicals, you need to understand the chemical resistance in disposable gloves and the protection that particular glove materials offer. In addition, length of exposure, conditions and chemical concentration impact the performance of the glove.

Consider degradation and breakthrough time
Gloves are rated on how well they withstand exposure to a certain chemical. Though there is not a standardized test, strength is typically scored by exposing the material to a test chemical. As a glove degrades, it may swell, wrinkle, get stiff or change color. In general, degradation determines whether a glove material is a good fit for a specific application.

In addition to degradation, gloves must be tested for permeation and breakthrough time if a chemical causes specific degradation to latex, nitrile or vinyl. Breakthrough time is the length of time between the initial contact with a chemical and when residue is detected on the inner side of the glove, which indicates how long workers are able to safely where the glove for barrier protection. Permeation is the way a chemical passes through a material on a molecular level without entering through the gloves’ pores, pinholes or other visible openings.

“Nitrile gloves have superior chemical resistance against common chemicals as well as many specialty chemicals, such as water treatment chemicals or industrial cleaning compounds.”

Understanding the conditions of glove use
With any type of glove, the length of exposure and concentration of the chemical may determine how resistant it is. For any intended use, it’s crucial to do on-site testing with any gloves so workers know how to protect themselves, especially if the facility uses chemical mixtures. Gloves are often tested for resistance to one chemical, but they may not be rated against specific mixtures.

For instance, AMMEX Gloveworks Latex Gloves offer barrier protection for food service, health care, dentistry, janitorial and industrial applications. Latex gloves offer secure protection against a variety of chemicals, but latex breaks down over time with continued exposure to certain chemicals, such as ethyl acetate, paint remover and rubber solvent. Latex is resistant to acetone, which may make these gloves a good fit for nail salons, especially compared to other materials.

Nitrile gloves may be better suited for automotive applications because they are more resistant to many of the chemicals used in this type of work such as gasoline and brake fluid. However, for any glove choice, it’s crucial to consider the resistance to specific chemicals that are used on the job.

Distributors who would like to learn more about available product materials, thicknesses and sizes to meet their needs should speak with their AMMEX sales representative or contact us on our website for more information.

AMMEXChemical Resistance in Disposable Gloves
Read More

All about Allergies: Part 2 Synthetics


Natural rubber latex disposable gloves typically get most of the attention when it comes to allergies, but allergic reactions are also possible with synthetic glove materials like nitrile butadiene rubber and polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl). While allergies to these materials themselves are uncommon, the chemicals used in the production processes are common causes.

During the production of nitrile and vinyl gloves, manufacturers use various substances to turn the base ingredients into the final glove materials. These chemicals are in both the process to form the actual PVC and nitrile and to turn these materials into gloves.

To create vinyl, for example, petroleum is used in the manufacturing process. Petroleum is used to create naphtha, which is combined with other chemicals to form ethylene. The ethylene is combined with chlorine, and through two more transformations, this combination becomes polyvinyl chloride.

Allergy tiggers
With latex gloves, the allergic reactions usually stem from the proteins in the latex. With synthetics, the issue lies with the petroleum. While rare, petroleum allergies do occur in some individuals.

As a result of contact with the glove materials, individuals with petroleum allergies experience contact dermatitis, which may lead to skin irritation, hives, redness and blistering in more extreme cases. Respiratory effects, such as throat itching, coughing and wheezing, appear with allergic reactions to petroleum gas but not commonly with petroleum-based gloves.

“If certain individuals wear a glove that is too-tight, the skin will not be able to breathe inside the glove which may cause an irritation.”

Acknowledging indirect causes of irritation
Although petroleum allergies are rare, some nitrile and vinyl glove wearers will experience contact dermatitis. However, this reaction does not always occur because of the glove materials.

One common issue is an irritative substance on the hands. Certain substances, such as residual hand soap or a scented lotion, will not cause too much of a problem on an exposed hand, but the associated reaction to it will be more pronounced in some individuals when they have a glove pressing the substance to their skin.

This issue is more evident when a glove is too small. Overall, too-tight gloves create irritation and discomfort as the skin is unable to breathe inside the glove.

Key points about glove material allergies
Whether it is latex, nitrile or vinyl, glove users must ensure they have the right gloves for the job. This applies to selecting the right material for the application as well as the appropriate size.

Additionally, as individuals and employers attempt to accommodate allergies, they must also consider how the alternative glove materials will fare in their work environments.  For a wide variety of glove options ranging in material, thickness, and sizing contact an AMMEX representative today or contact us on our website to learn more.

AMMEXAll about Allergies: Part 2 Synthetics
Read More

Global Trends in Food Processing


Food processing facilities follow the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) rules, but these food safety guidelines are the bare minimum facilities undertake to prevent contamination. In addition to HACCP, these facilities follow rules regarding high- and low-care (or high- and low-risk) areas.

High- and low-care areas establish physical barriers against contamination and relate to anything that creates a process, such as washing, salting and cooking. This not only applies to personal protective equipment (PPE), but also the facility itself. The regulations designate clear start and end points for different parts of the processing supply chain to prevent microbial growth and other types of contamination.

Here is an overview of how high- and low-care areas work:

What are high- and low-care areas?
When employing these guidelines, each facility has its own standards. However, one factor remains constant: As food products move further up the supply chain, the control standards become more strict. Essentially, as food goes from farm to table, it will move from low- to high-care areas.

“As food goes from farm to table, it will move from low- to high-care areas.”

As implied by the name, low-care areas require a lower standard of hygiene than high-care segments of a facility. Although food products in these areas may have contact with the environment, they are not at risk for additional contamination, according to Food Safety Magazine. Food processing steps to be completed in low-care areas include receiving, preparing and cooking food.

High-care areas have the utmost hygiene standards. Furthermore, these sections of the facility are temperature-controlled.

Before entering either of these areas, workers must change into the appropriate PPE at designated changing stations and wash their hands throughout the process. In the case of equipment moving between areas, these tools must undergo sanitation procedures.

How do facilities delineate high- and low-care areas?
Several factors establish the barriers between different sections of a food processing facility. These include installations and PPE, according to the British Retail Consortium’s Global Standards.

For the physical structure, a few features are present in both areas but more extensive in high-care sections: entrances; filtration systems to remove dust, microorganisms and airborne particles; and color coded floor markings. Color coding also applies to PPE, tools used for processing and appliances.

The physical segregation also includes transfer points. These are places in the facilities between low- and high-care areas where employees must complete certain steps to prevent contamination. Before workers or equipment pass from one area to the other, they must undergo the aforementioned hygiene and sanitation procedures in the transfer point. In some factories, employees cannot move between low- and high-care areas under any circumstances.

“As part of the segregation measures for low- and high-care areas, employees must wash their hands before moving from one area to the other.”

How do facilities establish a flow to prevent contamination?
Food processing plants have certain guidelines and layouts to further ensure activities in low-care areas do not affect high-care sections.

Drainage is one key concern. Any drainage systems in the facility must flow from a high-care area to a low-care area. This ensures no contaminates, such as blood from livestock, flow into a high-care section and come into contact with cooked foods.

Another aspect of flow is the cooking process. Because foods are raw when they begin cooking in a low-care area, BRC’s standards require double doors on cooking ovens for thorough segregation of cooked and uncooked food products. While some facilities use single-door ovens, they put additional sanitation measures in place to prevent contamination in lieu of a second physical barrier.

What is the global perspective?
More foods are processed now compared to previous years, which raises the chances that part of the supply chain takes place in another country. Not only does this refer to steps in the process, but it also applies to where the ingredients come from.

Different countries have varying degrees of regulation for food processing, and the U.S. has less intense rules compared to Europe and Asia. For instance, the European Union enforces good hygiene practices (GHP), which include extensive training to make certain food processing employees prevent contamination, in addition to HACCP. As shown through regulations regarding low- and high-care areas, HACCP, GHP and other food safety guidelines, increased scrutiny and care of food processing and food safety are growing globally.

AMMEXGlobal Trends in Food Processing
Read More

All about Allergies: Part 1 Latex


Latex allergies have serious consequences for health care and industrial workers as well as patients. Individuals experience a range of reactions from coming into contact with latex, including contact dermatitis and anaphylaxis, which is life-threatening. These reactions stem from the natural rubber latex proteins. Although latex gloves provide the best fit and feel, they are not the right choice for those with latex sensitivities. It’s crucial for people who come into contact with latex to understand the symptoms of a reaction.

What are latex allergies?
An immediate reaction after contact with latex is an indication of an allergy. This type of response to latex triggers the immune system, causing sneezing, a runny nose, coughing or wheezing and an itchy throat or eyes. Repeated exposure may cause people with only minor reactions to progress to anaphylaxis over time.

This reaction is triggered by latex proteins, which come from natural rubber. Many latex gloves are powdered, and the food-grade cornstarch powder transfers the proteins to the skin. The powder also spreads proteins to the eyes and throat.

“Health care workers are at an increased risk for latex sensitivity as latex is the most common glove used in that industry.”

Employees who work with latex products frequently may develop allergic reactions. This is especially common in the health care sector and rubber factories. People who have had 10 or more surgeries, food allergies or a family history of allergies are at a heightened risk.

While some people are born with latex allergies, many individuals have sensitivities that become more severe with repeated exposure. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 50 percent of people with latex allergy have a history of another type of allergy.

What are the symptoms of a reaction?
One of the most common reactions to latex is contact dermatitis, which is irritation or dryness of the skin. Delayed contact dermatitis often appears 12 to 36 hours after using a latex product, and the symptoms include red, scaly or itchy skin. Anyone who uses latex gloves may experience this reaction, but it does not mean they are allergic. Because there is a wide range of reactions to latex and they may get more severe over time, it’s important to check with a doctor or allergist to determine the true cause of a reaction.

Anaphylaxis is life-threatening because the reaction isn’t limited to one part of the body. People may experience difficulty breathing, red rashes, itchiness, swollen throat, chest tightness and trouble swallowing. This type of reaction may even cause someone to lose consciousness. Anaphylaxis typically occurs between 5-30 minutes of coming into contact with an allergen. While only 1 percent of the global population experiences anaphylaxis, latex is a common cause.

When reactions aren’t latex allergies
Contact dermatitis has multiple causes and not all are related to allergies. For example, medical professionals wash their hands frequently, leading to dryness. In addition, gloves trap soap, moisture or lotion against the skin, which sometimes causes irritation, especially when people don’t have the right glove size. Moreover, contact dermatitis sometimes happens because of incomplete hand drying or the friction of the glove powder rubbing against the skin.

Delayed hypersensitivity is often caused by the chemicals used to manufacture the gloves rather than the latex proteins. Antioxidants, emulsifiers, stabilizers and stiffeners cause severe contact dermatitis within two days after exposure for some people, and the reaction spreads to other areas such as the face in some cases. People with immediate hypersensitivity should avoid all exposure to latex in hopes of preventing a latex allergy.

Chronic contact dermatitis and delayed hypersensitivity are usually limited to the area of contact, but individuals with recurring reactions should see a doctor, dermatologist or allergist to confirm. Chronic contact dermatitis may be indicative of a different allergy.

The global perspective
As countries develop, glove usage is becoming more common in health systems around the world. The primary type of glove is latex, and allergies are occurring more frequently because of repeated exposure. The U.S. and other developed nations have started to use alternatives to latex, and other countries may need to follow suit.

Viable latex alternatives
AMMEX Corporation offers a full line of latex and synthetic exam-grade gloves to suit whatever needs you have. AMMEX Nitrile Exam Gloves are an excellent alternative to latex and have many benefits, such as greater tear resistance. Additionally, AMMEX Vinyl Exam Gloves are a cost-effective alternative to latex.

AMMEXAll about Allergies: Part 1 Latex
Read More

High Visibility Sales Results with Orange Nitrile!


The first thing you will most likely notice about Gloveworks Heavy Duty Orange Nitrile Gloves is their bright, unique color. Although AMMEX Corporation is well-known for black nitrile gloves, orange nitrile gloves bring something new to the table and are perfect for agricultural, automotive, industrial safety and manufacturing applications, among many others.

Why should you go orange?
Orange nitrile gloves do not just look unique; the color stands out so you are more aware of where you hands are at all times, making them an excellent part of a personal protective equipment (PPE) or high-visibility program. The contrast of the color with dark environments makes workers less likely to be injured. The bright orange stands out against dim work areas, such as industrial environments, garages and under the hoods of vehicles.

Successful PPE programs require collaboration between employers and employees to conduct hazard assessments in their workplaces and minimize risks. Employees must be trained to be aware of hazards and properly wear PPE. Protective gear that is comfortable and easy to don makes employees more likely to utilize it. The orange nitrile gloves have a beaded cuff to prevent ripping and tearing at the base, which makes them easier to put on. In addition, the texture and durability of these gloves do not interfere with the comfort. Nitrile gloves conform to the hands as they are warmed with body heat and are more elastic than vinyl, making them more comfortable for longer use.

“Orange nitrile gloves stand out in dark work environments.”

Other features that will make you want to go orange
The raised diamond texture of the orange nitrile gloves gives them a superior grip. In addition, they are thicker for better durability, which makes them three times as resistant to punctures as latex. Plus, the added thickness increases the gloves’ resistance to harsh chemicals. Wearers are able to safely work with iodine, butane and pesticides for longer without having to change gloves. This helps you save money by using fewer gloves. The bright color also means no more lost gloves in the dark. In addition, the orange matches other brightly colored protective equipment.

Our Gloveworks Heavy Duty Orange Nitrile Gloves are available in sizes medium to extra extra large and measure 9.5 inches from base to fingertip. They are sold in boxes of 100 gloves with 10 boxes to a case.

Contact your AMMEX representative or contact us on our website to add these gloves to your product line. If you would like to become a distributor, contact us for more information.

AMMEXHigh Visibility Sales Results with Orange Nitrile!
Read More

Spring is the Busiest Season for Landscapers


Now that the snow has finally melted and the grass is starting to grow again, many people are starting to think about sprucing up their yards and gardens. Landscaping companies may field a higher volume of calls than normal. Therefore, it is important to have the right gear on hand for landscaping projects.

Even places that have been hit by recent droughts, such as California, are considering new landscaping options. Due to water restrictions that are in affect, many residents are thinking about replacing the existing flowers, shrubbery and grass in their yards with desert plants that require less water, according to Palm Springs CBS affiliate KESQ.

Landscapers must be sure to have all the protective gear they need at the ready to complete their contracted projects. Workers need the right gloves to protect their skin from thorns, fertilizers and pesticides. Gloveworks HD Orange Nitrile Glovesstretch synthetic vinyl gloves and GPX3 vinyl gloves are chemically resistant barriers for handling lawn and garden chemicals. Dipped work gloves are also perfect for landscapers. In addition, companies may need face masks to prevent employees from breathing in dirt and dust.

No matter how big or small the landscaping job, companies should be properly equipped with personal protective equipment to handle the task.

For more information, follow this link.

AMMEXSpring is the Busiest Season for Landscapers
Read More

Barrier Protection Needs in the Beauty Industry


Whether customers seek no-chip manicures or a relaxing foot massage, nail and beauty technicians need barrier protection to guard themselves against harsh chemicals and pathogens. This presents a large sales opportunity for distributors of disposable gloves and masks.

Not only are salon owners looking out for the safety of their employees, but they are also liable to regulations from the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). These best practices and rules are in place for a good reason.

The chemicals used by technicians include acetone, toluene, methyl ethyl ketone and isopropyl acetate. Prolonged exposure to these substances via skin contact or breathing in the vapors leads to symptoms such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Skin, eye, mouth and nose irritation
  • Burns
  • Harm to fetuses of pregnant technicians
  • Difficulties concentrating
  • Coughing fits and asthma attacks
  • Kidney and liver damage

With regard to biological risks, employees need protection against bloodborne pathogens.

To address these risks, salon owners should purchase a few types of barrier protection:

Disposable gloves
Several glove materials are fitting for the safety risks present in salons. Latex gloves, such as the LX3 and Gloveworks Industrial Latex, are suitable for guarding against chemicals and pathogens.

However, because of the growing prevalence of latex allergies, the industry is trending toward non-latex gloves, such as nitrile and vinyl. Though nitrile gloves, such as the X3, X3D, and AMMEX Indigo Nitrile Exam Gloves, are not recommended for use with acetone, technicians are able to use these gloves because they have limited exposure to the chemical. Stretch synthetic vinyl gloves are also suitable. With these alternatives, neither workers or customers are exposed to latex.

“Gloves protect nail technicians from pathogens and harsh chemicals.”

Masks
Not all masks provide equal results in nail and beauty salons. Many salons use ear loop face masks (ELFMs), which also protect customers from what workers exhale.

N95-rated masks are filtering face pieces. These products, such as the N95 face mask, are useful for nail buffing and applying acrylic powders because they filter out germs and dusts. To fully realize this protection, workers must have properly fitted masks. They will find proper fitting information on the mask packaging.

Reaching the wide open market
With the aforementioned information in mind, it’s not hard to see why the more than 375,000 nail technicians in the U.S. need barrier protection. Distributors who would like to learn more about products that are suitable for their salon clients should speak with their AMMEX sales representative or contact us on our website for more information.

AMMEXBarrier Protection Needs in the Beauty Industry
Read More