As fentanyl overdose deaths rise exponentially, nearly doubling from 2019-21, it is crucial for law enforcement officers, first responders and those in the healthcare fields to wear appropriate protective gear, including fentanyl resistant gloves.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid up to 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Commonly used medically for pain management and anaesthesia, fentanyl is also made and sold illegally as a recreational drug, often being mixed with heroin or cocaine - contributing to overdoses. Like other opioids, fentanyl use can lead to dependency and addiction, can be absorbed via the skin, open cuts and by inhalation. Even exposure to tiny amounts - as little as 2mg, about the size of 5 grains of salt - can cause respiratory depression, arrest and possible death. Fentanyl resistant gloves of consistently high quality are an essential last line of defense for anyone who might come into accidental contact with the drug.
Do all gloves protect against fentanyl?
No. Nitrile gloves must be tested to the chemotherapy drug threshold (ASTM D6978) to claim resistance. To ensure the highest levels of safety, we recommend talking with your supplier and confirming the nitrile glove was also specifically tested against a fentanyl solution.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) states, “No nitrile glove models showed fentanyl or carfentanil permeation rates above the chemotherapy drug threshold criterion of 0.01 µg/cm2/min (i.e., thereby meeting the performance requirement) as calculated using the ASTM D6978-19 standard within the 240-min test. Latex and vinyl glove materials exhibited fentanyl and carfentanil permeation with permeation rates above this threshold.”
In addition to passing fentanyl testing, here are a few best practices when selecting fentanyl proof gloves.
4 Tips to Buying Fentanyl Resistant Gloves
Select the right glove type:
To prevent fentanyl exposure, NIOSH recommends emergency first responders ‘always wear nitrile gloves when illicit drugs may be present and change them properly when they become contaminated.’ Also recommending the use of powder-free nitrile gloves with a minimum thickness of 5+- 2mil. At Eagle, we strongly recommend using a nitrile glove with the ASTM D6978 rating that was specifically tested against a fentanyl solution, proving protection against this hazardous drug. As NIOSH has shown, latex and vinyl gloves are not recommended as they have not shown effective fentanyl protection.
Proper glove fit:
The disposable nitrile glove should have a snug, but comfortable fit. A snug fit will ensure the glove stays in place during use, protecting the wearer from transdermal exposure.
Glove quality (AQL):
The AQL, or acceptable quality level, of a disposable glove is a quality standard for measuring pinhole defects. Manufacturers test a random sample of gloves during the initial production and test for pinhole defects. The lower the AQL, the less defects the gloves have. An AQL of 1.5, for example, requires gloves be manufactured with no more than 15 failures for every 1,000 gloves produced. We recommend sourcing fentanyl gloves with an AQL of 1.5 or less.
It is a good practice to source fentanyl resistant gloves in darker colors (i.e. black or blue) so white powder contamination can be more readily identified.
Proper fentanyl glove selection is imperative as the finely ground opioid powder can be absorbed transdermally, through the skin. With the unique Eagle Standard guaranteeing consistent quality and performance, wearers can be confident of unbeatable protection. Eagle offers a range of fentanyl resistant gloves, tested directly against a fentanyl solution, in differing thicknesses, colors and textures.
Proper Glove Use
In addition to equipping emergency and medical personnel with effective fentanyl resistant gloves, the glove wearers must put on and take off the gloves properly in order to reduce the risk of cross-contamination and accidental exposure. Here is a video showing how to don and doff disposable gloves.
Eagle Protect Fentanyl Resistant Gloves
Eagle Derma² nitrile exam gloves are exceptionally soft and lightweight (3mil), yet durable and strong, ideal for medical use and precision and tactile work.
Eagle Sensitive nitrile exam gloves are 4mil thick, premium quality gloves for sensitive skin, providing superior barrier protection. An excellent choice for medical personnel who need a superior quality multi-purpose glove.
Eagle Blue52 nitrile gloves work in almost every situation. At 5mil thick, they have been manufactured thicker for extra strength and durability. Ideal for first responders, police, security personnel and others who directly interact with the public.
As America’s opioid crisis only continues to increase, nitrile gloves with protection against fentanyl needs to become a part of standard equipment for emergency first responders, police department, medical staff and security personnel who have the highest risk of accidental exposure. Eagle Protect’s fentanyl gloves offer unbeatable performance and protection, eliminating risk for our customers.