Pthalates in Vinyl Gloves

Problem: Phthalates are a family of chemicals with important health concerns. One of the most widely used phthalates, DEHP, causes cancer, reproductive harm, and genetic damage.

DEHP has been widely used as a “plasticizer” in vinyl gloves used for cleaning, painting, food preparation, medical procedures and other uses. Some gloves were found to be over 50 percent DEHP. DEHP is absorbed through the skin while the gloves are worn.

CEH Action: In 2007, CEH began testing vinyl gloves for DEHP, and we found many brand with high levels of the toxic chemical. We initiated legal action against dozens of companies whose gloves contained high concentrations of DEHP, in order to end the companies’ use of DEHP.

The Solution: CEH has reached legal agreements with more than two dozen glove companies requiring strict limits on the amount of DEHP and other phthalates in their vinyl gloves.

What You Can Do: CEH recommends latex (for people without latex allergies or sensitivities) or nitrile gloves. Both are widely available.