Phthalate and Accelerator 101

February 25, 2019

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What are Phthalates and Accelerators? Phthalates are a family of inexpensive chemicals that can be used in the production of disposable gloves. They are primarily used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or vinyl products (including gloves) more flexible and harder to break, and can also be found in some nitrile gloves.

Accelerators are chemicals used during (latex and nitrile) glove production to stabilise the raw materials in order to form a strong and elastic glove.

WHY ARE THEY BAD?

Studies have shown phthalates, such as DEHP and BPA, are carcinogenic and known endocrine disruptors which can cause adverse health effects. When contained in gloves phthalates can either be absorbed through the skin or leach into the food being handled and ingested.

Due to these well documented adverse effects on health, Japan has banned PVC gloves for food handling, and the European Union banned the use of DEHP in food service gloves out of concern that the chemical will leach into food and be ingested.

Accelerators, on the other hand (no pun intended), have been known to cause allergic contact dermatitis or Type IV delayed type hypersensitivity in some people.

WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES?

Not all gloves contain phthalates or accelerators. Phthalates are mostly found in vinyl gloves. The best way to know if a glove contains phthalates is to contact the glove supplier. 

Accelerator-free gloves, like our Sensitive* Nitrile Gloves, are easier to distinguish as this is most likely a product feature that will be promoted.

Gloves are a simple food safety tool, but a complex product to understand. Have questions about gloves? Ask us, or click below to learn more about which type pf disposable glove is best suited to your needs and see why nitrile gloves are our recommended glove for a wide variety of industries.

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Tags: Food Safety