Dental personnel and orthopedic surgeons are at risk when manually handling products containing methyl methacrylate (MMA). Dental products may also contain cross-linking agents such as ethylene glycol dimethacrylate (EGDMA) or 1,4-butanediol dimethacrylate (1,4-BDMA). Skin contact with monomers can cause hand eczema, and the protection given by gloves manufactured from different types of material is not well known. The aim of this study was to determine the breakthrough time (BTT, min) as a measure of protection (according to the EU standard EN-374-3) for a mixture consisting of MMA, EGDMA and 1,4-BDMA. Fifteen different gloves representing natural rubber latex material, synthetic rubber material (e.g. nitrile rubbers), and synthetic polymer material were tested. The smallest monomer MMA permeated within 3 min through all glove materials. A polyethylene examination glove provided the longest protection period to EGDMA and 1, 4-BDMA (> 120 min and 25.0 min), followed by the surgical glove Tactylon (6.0 min and 8.7 min) and the nitrile glove Nitra Touch (5.0 min and 8.7 min). This study showed that the breakthrough time (based on permeation rate) cannot be regarded as a ‘safe limit’. When the permeation rate is low, monomers may have permeated before BTT can be determined. Using double gloves with a synthetic rubber inner glove and a natural rubber outer glove provided longer protection when the inner glove was rinsed in water before placing the outer glove on top.

Permeability of different types of medical protective gloves to acrylic monomers.
Lönnroth EC, Wellendorf H, Ruyter E.