PaintHealthy CollisionRepair is a collaborative research project to reduce harmful chemical exposures in automotive spray painters.

The purpose of the study is to recommend gloves and coveralls that protect spray painters from the isocyanates and solvents commonly found in automotive paints.


Laboratory Testing of Gloves and Coveralls
Keeping painters healthy

The goal of the laboratory testing was to identify materials that best resist permeation of isocyanates and solvents.



The Trades Division at Green River Community College near Seattle, Washington was host to the laboratory experiments that tested glove and coverall material (see Laboratory Slideshow below).  These experiments were unusual because they tested materials against a mixture of reacting chemicals, such as paint formulations.  Typically gloves are tested against single chemicals.

Laboratory Slideshow

More about laboratory testing�


The paint formulations used in these experiments contain isocyanates commonly found in automotive paints:



Examples of common solvents found in the formulations include:


  • methyl ethyl ketone (MEK)

  • n-butyl acetate

  • methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK)

  • ethyl benzene

  • xylene

  • 1-methoxy-2-propyl acetate

  • toluene

  • 2-heptanone


The types of glove materials being tested include:


  • thin latex (5 ml)

  • medium nitrile (6 ml)

  • thin nitrile (4 - 5 ml)

  • thick nitrile (8 ml)

  • latex/nitrile composites

  • thick latex (14 ml)

  • tripolymer

  • butyl rubber


Coveralls are typically composed of more than one type of material and the materials being tested include:


  • nylon/cotton/polyester

  • polypropylene/polyethene

  • nylon/cotton

  • Tyvek®

  • polyester/carbon fiber


The laboratory experiments were completed in Spring 2011.


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Painter Testing of Gloves and Coveralls

THANK YOU to all Washington spray painters and shops for participating in the PaintHealthy CollisionRepair study. Painter testing of gloves was completed in November 2011. We greatly appreciated your willingness to test disposable gloves on behalf of your industry. Study results are currently being analyzed and will be posted soon. Unfortunately we were not able to test painter coveralls as initally planned. More laboratory testing of coveralls is needed before they can be tested by painters.


The following describes how spray painters tested the gloves.


Painters wore 8 millimeter (ml) thick gloves made of nitrile, the glove type that was identified through laboratory experiments to be the most protective.  The gloves were worn while spray painting and evaluated to see whether they provide protection against isocyanates and solvents.


Painter Slideshow

More about painter testing�



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