Not without Gloves: Specialty Chemicals


Specialty chemicals are produced to serve a specific function and may be composed of a single chemical or a blend. Specialty chemicals often have an influence on the end product in the manufacturing process and are commonly used in the oil industry, agriculture, electronics, construction and consumer goods, such as detergents, perfumes and paper items, according to Value Line. Because these blends vary depending on the application, specialty chemicals should always be handled with care, which means utilizing gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE).

Compared to other chemicals, specialty chemicals are typically manufactured in a batch process rather than continuous, which results in a pure product, according to the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates. Each compound may have only one or two uses, which means companies need to understand the specific chemical compounds used in their processes to select the right gloves for the job. Here are some components of specialty chemicals and the appropriate gloves for handling them:

Iodine
Although iodine is elemental, compounds of this chemical often appear in specialty chemicals. Commonly used in medicines and animal feed supplements, iodine compounds may be considered specialty chemicals. Iodine is an essential nutrient, but too much exposure – 400 micrograms per day or more – has been linked to thyroid complications, according to Fox News. This condition may cause fatigue, depression and dry skin. Vinyl, nitrile and latex gloves all provide sufficient barrier protection when handling iodine.

Printing ink
Many printing inks contain carbon black, which is classified as a carcinogen. Ink is used for a variety of purposes, and overexposure may be risky. Latex and nitrile gloves protect the hands from printing ink.

Lubricants
Often found in the oil industry and automotive applications, lubricants contain mineral oils and may be carcinogenic. Nitrile gloves offer protection from this specialty chemical and are well suited for automotive applications because this glove material is highly puncture resistant and offers protection from many common engine chemicals. Latex gloves may not be suitable for automotive work because they are not resistant to petroleum-based chemicals.

Plastics
Petroleum and a variety of specialty chemicals are used to manufacture different types of plastics. Nitrile gloves are also recommended for handling petroleum of up to 100 percent.

This has been AMMEX’s “Not without gloves” series, where we have discussed hazardous chemicals and effective PPE for each. For more about chemical resistance and barrier protection, contact AMMEX today.

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Emphasize Safety with PPE


Ensuring workplace safety is no easy task, especially in industrial environments with the potential for many hazards. Depending on the industry, workplaces have risks of slips, falls, dangerous equipment and machinery or toxic chemicals. Even though establishing a safe workplace is a complicated undertaking, providing the right safety equipment is less expensive than coping with injuries in the long run.

The costs of an unsafe workplace
Providing personal protective equipment may be costly, especially for organizations that have large staffs. The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has strict standards for workplace safety, and violations quickly add up. These are the different types of OSHA violations and the costs for each:

  • Serious: OSHA issues serious violations when an employee suffers a severe injury or dies on the job. Typically, these violations occur when the employer reasonably could have known about the risk. OSHA may issue mandatory penalties of up to $7,000 for each serious violation.
  • Other than serious: This type of violation stems from hazards that have a direct relationship to workplace safety and health but probably do not have the ability to cause a serious injury or death. Other-than-serious violations come with a $7,000 discretionary fine.
  • Willful: Willful violations are when employers know they are in violation of OSHA’s standards. Companies know there are hazards but do nothing to fix the situation. Fines range from $5,000 to $70,000 for each violation. In addition, if a willful violation caused a death, employers may be subject to court-imposed fines or even imprisonment. Criminal convictions may result in a $250,000 fine for an individual or a $500,000 penalty for an organization.
  • Repeat: After OSHA cites companies for any of the above violations, failure to fix the issue may result in a repeat violation. In addition, employers may be cited for similar hazards, not just the same problem. These violations cost up to $70,000 per citation.

“Rather than pay for violations, employers should take the steps to enable a safer workplace, including providing PPE.”

Clearly, the costs for noncompliance are steep. The costs of criminal convictions for willful violations have the potential to put companies out of business. Rather than pay for violations, employers should take the steps to enable a safer workplace, including providing PPE.

PPE guards against chemical burns, which carry hefty fines from OSHA. Safety News Alert reported on two companies that received OSHA fines for chemical hazards, totaling $40,500 and $50,785 respectively. The company with the larger fine failed to utilize the appropriate PPE. Chemical burns cause serious injuries that may also require workers compensation. Providing aprons, sleeves, bouffant caps and other PPE reduces the risk of these workplace hazards and other threats.

Selecting PPE to reduce exposure to workplace hazards
PPE minimizes exposure to chemicals, radiation, electricity, machinery and other workplace hazards. PPE includes gloves, safety glasses, face masks, coveralls, hair nets, bouffant covers, shoe covers and sleeves. All PPE should fit well and be comfortable to wear for work, which will encourage its use. Poorly fitted PPE may lead to workplace injuries or illnesses because an employee could be exposed to dangerous conditions.

If PPE is being used, employers need to establish a program to ensure compliance. Simply providing the equipment will not necessarily guarantee employees will use it on their own. A strong PPE program addresses the existing workplace hazards and trains employees on when PPE is necessary, what types they need to use, how to properly don and doff it and the lifespan of each piece of equipment. It is also important to discuss the limitations of PPE so employees are more aware in the workplace.

June is OSHA and the National Safety Council’s (NSC) National Safety Month. The NSC provides free resources on improving workplace safety and enhancing emergency preparedness to help employers build and improve their PPE programs. Safety is a a paramount concern for all employers, especially with the high financial risks of noncompliance. June is a great time to evaluate safety equipment and increase training for employees to create a culture of workplace safety.

It is easy to add PPE to your product line up. Contact us or contact your AMMEX representative to get started today.

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Top 9 Safety Tips


Many workplaces have hazards that endanger workers, but many of these issues are avoidable with the proper training, safety gear and protocols. Here are the top workplace risks and what may be done to avoid them:

1. Keep areas free of clutter to prevent falls

Falls are one of the most common workplace injuries and resulted in 699 fatal injuries in 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of injuries where the height of the fall was reported, one in four workers fell from a height of 10 feet or less, calling attention to the risks of falls from a short height. Even in cases with no fatalities, falling to a lower level may cause serious injuries.

Falls often occur in the workplace because of cluttered areas, slippery or uneven floor surfaces, floor holes, wall openings, unprotected edges and improperly positioned ladders. Although the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Association has regulations requiring specific fall protection measures for different industries, falls may still be common due to a lack of safety culture in an organization. To avoid falls, companies should ensure all working areas are free from clutter. In addition, shoe covers with rubberized grips give workers better traction.

2. Implement a culture of safety

Understanding the unique risks at your company or in your industry helps managers create effective training. Emphasize the importance of safety so employees take it to heart. Workplace safety should be an early area of focus when new workers start at the company. Conduct regular inspections to identify anything that could become a hazard.

3. Keep emergency exits and equipment shutoffs accessible

Reducing clutter has multiple safety benefits. Not only will it reduce falls, but it also makes emergency exits more accessible. Maintaining clear access to emergency equipment shutoffs allows machinery to be turned off quickly.

4. Reduce workplace stress

Stressed out employees are more likely to be injured on the job. Long hours tire workers, making them less aware of their surroundings. Encourage workers to talk to their supervisors if they feel high levels of stress. Allow time for regular breaks so employees have a chance to recharge.

5. Lift correctly

Picking up heavy items improperly causes back injuries and chronic pain. Workers who need to lift heavy items should use proper form to avoid injury. Lift slowly and smoothly from the thighs, not the back. After picking up a heavy item, hold it close to the body. Use mechanical aids whenever possible to reduce the likelihood of back injuries.

6. Train workers on all tools and equipment

Heavy machinery introduces risks into the workplace when employees do not use equipment properly. Anyone who works with specific machinery should receive training. In addition, equipment should be regularly checked to ensure it stays in working order.

7. Report all hazards immediately

Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Encourage workers to report any unsafe conditions they notice in the facility to prevent injuries. Emphasizing the culture of safety increases reporting.

8. Understand chemical hazards

Workers in many industries encounter dozens of chemicals every day. Companies need to maintain a knowledge of all the chemicals they use and understand the health effects. OSHA recommends transitioning to safer chemicals. Some compounds have alternatives that present fewer health risks to employees. Only a small number of chemicals are regulated in the workplace, and 190,000 illnesses and 50,000 deaths are the result of chemical exposure every year, according to OSHA. Janitorial, automotive, pathology labs and other industries may be able to switch to chemicals that are less hazardous to workers and the environment.

9. Use the right personal protective equipment for the job

With risks in nearly every industry, some sectors must provide personal protective equipment for employees. All employees need to be educated on how to use PPE, and all gear should fit well and be comfortable, which encourages employees to make use of it. When it comes to disposable gloves for barrier protection, employers need to be mindful of chemical and puncture resistance, fit and latex sensitivities. All PPE should be tested before implemented across an organization. In addition to gloves, companies may need face masks, sleeves and other protective coverings.

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Not Without Gloves: Pesticides


Pesticides should always be handled with the proper barrier protection. Different formulations target various organisms, such as insects, rodents, algae, weeds and fungi. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulates the use of all pesticides and requires chemicals that have been registered for many years to be reassessed to ensure they meet current standards.

Pesticides typically come in organic or inorganic solutions with an active ingredient. Although some pesticide formulas are less toxic than others, they are still hazardous to human health in high levels, and anyone handling these products must protect themselves. Here are some of the hazardous chemicals commonly found in pesticides and effective gloves for handling each:

Naphthalene
Naphthalene is made from crude oil, coal tar or created when other chemicals burn. It was the first registered pesticide in the U.S. in 1948. Because this chemical is found in mothballs, it has been shown to cause anemia in infants when the clothing was not washed prior to wear, according to the National Pesticide Information Center at Oregon State University. It has been linked to anemia in adults as well. Although naphthalene breaks down in the environment over time, workers should wear gloves when handling pesticides that contain this chemical.

Latex, nitrile and vinyl gloves are all resistant to naphthalene. Because these types of gloves all provide protection from this chemical, it is easier for companies to accommodate people with latex sensitivities.

Paradichlorobenzene
Another common insecticide, paradichlorobenzene causes a burning sensation on the skin after prolonged contact. Nitrile gloves are recommended protection from skin exposure to this toxin.

Capsaicin
Even naturally occurring chemicals can cause harm. Capsaicin, for example, is a naturally occurring chemical that gives chili peppers their heat. It is used to deter mites, insects and animals. While it is safe for humans to eat, it may irritate the skin or eyes upon contact, especially when highly concentrated. The effects are temporary and it is considered a safer pesticide because it is a naturally occurring substance, but skin contact may cause pain. High concentrations of capsaicin may burn through latex gloves in a short time. Nitrile gloves provide greater protection from this harsh substance.

For any pesticide, it is important to know the solution’s chemical composition and then test disposal work gloves for resistance to identify safe exposure levels. Contact your AMMEX representative or contact us on our website to learn more about the right barrier protection and add gloves to your line up.

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Baby Care Products for the Growing Market


Child care is a growing industry, and day care facilities need to have the right supplies on hand. With the high number of children in care arrangements, child care providers go through a substantial amount of disposable gloves, changing table paper, baby wipes, bibs and diaper disposal bags.

In 2014, 11 million children under five years old in the U.S. attended day care each week, according to research from Child​ CareAware of America. These children spend an average of 36 hours per week in day care. With the amount of time the average child spends in daycare before entering preschool, it is no surprise how many supplies these facilities go through.

This is particularly evident with diaper disposal bags, for example. Babies one to five months old go through eight to 10 diapers per day, totaling 870 diapers per month, according to New Kids Center. Although the number of diapers per day may slow after a child’s first year, the total is still significant. The average American baby will go through 6,500 to 10,000 diapers before reaching 30 months old. The significant diaper usage from small children supports the necessity for products that help day care workers handle diapers.

“Day care facilities need bibs, wipes and diaper disposable bags to provide a superior level of care.”

Having the right supplies on hand
Rolls of sanitary changing table paper help employees maintain a sanitary environment. Along with diapers, childcare facilities should be well-stocked with baby wipes. AMMEX’s baby wipes are alcohol free and contain Vitamin E and aloe, making them safer for use on sensitive skin . Because of the hours children spend in day care, facilities stock poly bibs on hand for meal times, which feature a crumb pocket to limit the mess.Disposable bibs are beneficial for facilities that care for a large number of children, as they reduce the amount of laundry loads per day.

Child care facilities represent a significant opportunity for distributors because they use these supplies every day and go through them quickly.

Disposable gloves for child care
One overlooked supply for child care facilities is vinyl gloves. Gloves are needed for a variety of applications, including changing diapers, food preparation and general cleaning. For diaper changing, AMMEX Stretch Synthetic Vinyl Exam Gloves are an excellent fit because they are medical grade, making them more effective barrier protection. AMMEX GlovePlus Vinyl Gloves are well-suited for food preparation and cleaning the facility. Vinyl gloves are looser fitting than nitrile or latex, which makes them easier to don and doff. These gloves are less expensive than other materials, which helps day care facilities save money on something they use multiple times per day.

As the demand for child care services increases, day care providers need to consider their supplies. These facilities need to have the right changing table paper, baby wipes, diaper disposal bags and gloves on hand to offer a high quality of care. Distributors should make the most of this growing market for disposables.

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Not without Gloves: Salon Chemicals

Helping clients look their best may come at a price for salon workers because they are often exposed to hazardous chemicals. Hair and nail salon workers handle potentially toxic chemicals on a daily basis, and they need to know how to protect themselves. Employees must be aware of the risks and don the right personal protective equipment based on the chemicals they handle. Here are some common salon chemicals and barrier protection for each:

Acetone
A common ingredient in both nail polish remover and hairspray, acetone may cause skin irritation. In some cases, there may not be sufficient alternatives to allow salon workers to completely avoid exposure to this chemical. However, latex gloves offer superior barrier protection so employees minimize skin exposure. Vinyl is not resistant to acetone, so latex is the best choice for handling acetone. However, depending on the length of exposure to chemicals, nitrile may be a better choice to avoid exposure to latex.

Formaldehyde
Formaldehyde, which is often found in nail polish and nail hardeners, is one of the riskiest chemicals for salon workers to handle because it may cause cancer after long-term exposure. From short-term exposure, formaldehyde causes skin irritation and dermatitis. Even low concentrations of formaldehyde may lead to negative side effects. The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recommended respirators for handling formaldehyde. Many salons are well-ventilated, but N95-rated masks filter out dust and germs. Gloves should also be used to protect the skin. Latex, vinyl and nitrile gloves offer protection from this chemical for concentrations up to 99 percent.

Trichloroethylene
Often used in hair extension glue and lace wig glue, trichloroethylene may cause eye and skin irritation, as well as nausea and disorientation. Long-term exposure may lead to dermatitis and liver and kidney damage. Nitrile gloves provide protection against this chemical. In addition, vinyl gloves may be used for a limited time to guard against trichloroethylene exposure.

Dibutyl phthalate
Dibutyl phthalate is found in nail polish and may cause skin irritation. Within the selection of glove materials, nitrile gloves protect workers from dibutyl phthalate whereas latex gloves may be used for a limited time to protect from this chemical.

Toulene
Used in many different industries and common in a number of beauty products, including nail polish, nail glue, hair dye and hairpiece bonding, toulene is one of the most toxic chemicals in salons. It has been linked to skin rashes, nausea, eye irritation and headaches. If workers are exposed to this chemical for an extended length of time, it may lead to birth defects or the loss of a pregnancy. Because this chemical is so toxic, vinyl gloves may be used, but for only a limited time.

Because concentrations may vary, it is important to check the safety data sheet issued by the manufacturer and conduct in-house testing to determine the safe exposure time. Gloves should always be replaced if they are torn or compromised in any way. Although nitrile gloves offer barrier protection against many common salon chemicals, it is crucial to understand the recommendations for each solution. Concentrations may vary by manufacturer, and salons need to ensure they select the right gloves for the application. In addition to chemicals, salon workers need gloves to protect them from customers’ nails, blood or skin.

To learn more about what glove is best for the chemicals you may be using contact an AMMEX representative today or contact us on our website to get started on becoming a distributor. If you are already a distributor, speak with your salesperson to discover more about what AMMEX can offer for you.

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Not without Gloves: Lacquer and Paint Thinners


Lacquer and paint thinners are harsh solvents that should not be handled without the correct personal protective equipment (PPE). This is because these substances, which are used in the construction, automotive, retail and maritime industries, present several health risks when they are not handled safely.

If certain workers use paint and lacquer thinners without gloves, they may experience dermatitis, skin irritation and numbness in the areas that come in in contact with the solvents. With repeated exposure to the chemicals, the side effects become more severe, ranging from liver disease to an increased risk of cancer, as indicated by material safety data sheets (MSDSs) for these solvents.

With these hazards in mind, always consider the following PPE for safe handling of paint and lacquer thinners:

The importance of disposable gloves
Disposable gloves protect workers’ hands while they use paint and lacquer thinners.

Nitrile gloves are perfect for handling these substances because they stand up to the specific chemicals that are typically found in these solvents. This is because they are made from a petroleum-based synthetic material that is designed to provide chemical resistance. According to an MSDS from GC Electronics, its paint thinner contains a mixture of toluene and hydrotreated naphtha – about 40-50 percent of each. Based on these chemicals, the data sheet recommended nitrile gloves for use because the material is resistant to this mixture.

Lacquer thinner, which has a higher solvency than paint thinner and is therefore a harsher substance, often contains chemicals such as methanol and hexane. Nitrile also provides sufficient resistance to these and other ingredients commonly found in lacquer thinners.

Workers should keep in mind the permeation times for each chemical in these solvents in relation to nitrile. For instance, the naphtha in a mixture will not wear down a nitrile glove quickly, but the permeation time could decrease if the solvent contains methyl ethyl ketone, which is not recommended for use with nitrile gloves. This chemical clearly degrades the glove material. Latex gloves are a better option for handling thinners with methyl ethyl ketone but for only a limited duration per glove pair.

Face masks
Paint and lacquer thinners can be used with spray applicators. Also, they are often present in lacquers and paint to thin those coatings for use with a spray applicator. To reduce the inhalation risk, workers should don N-95-rated face masks. These products will prevent individuals from directly inhaling the solvents during the spraying process. It is important to note face masks address the risk of particles from the spray solutions entering the nose and mouth but do not filter vapors. Depending on the compounds being sprayed, a respirator mask is appropriate for more dangerous chemical use.

The importance of on-site testing and glove changes
When selecting PPE for handling any chemical, it is important to conduct on-site testing. This is particularly true of paint and lacquer thinners, as chemical mixtures for these substances vary by manufacturer. Testing allows workers to have a more accurate picture of permeation times and degradation, which provides a better idea of how often workers must change gloves and which material works best based on the task.

The chemical being sprayed will set the tone for the best glove choice. The GlovePlus HD Heavy Duty Nitrile Exam Gloves are the most commonly used gloves for lacquer and paint thinners.

Stay tuned for the next installment in our series, which will cover the best PPE for salons.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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