Those of us who do our own work on our boats face a host of safety issues. Not the least of these is protecting out hands. Paints, solvents and sensitizing chemicals are prevalent. Repeated or prolonged use of many of the solvents in these products can remove skin oils, producing dermatitis (dryness, irritation, redness and cracking of the skin. Exposure to uncured epoxy can cause the user to become sensitized to the epoxy. Once that happens, you will never be able to use epoxy again..
Most marine stores carry two kinds of protective gloves for. The first type is the common latex gloves. Some people are allergic to latex and need to avoid this type of glove. Other problems with latex gloves are that they are relatively easily torn and are not resistant to some of the solvents used in boatyards.
The second type of glove is the nitrile glove. These gloves are more resistant to solvents and a little tougher than latex gloves. If you are going to buy either, buy the nitrile gloves (some manufacturers supply neoprene gloves, equally good).
Both styles of gloves are easily torn or punctured on sharp edges. This is especially true when working around cured fiberglass,: exposed strands can be like little needles on either style of glove.
So what type of glove do I use? Well actually, neither. I go to my local discount store and buy dish washing gloves. These are much, much thicker than either latex or nitrile gloves. They are available in several styles including ones with longer cuffs to protect the wrists. You give up a little in the way of tactile feel but this isn’t brain surgery so I don’t mind. These gloves are relatively cheap and can be reused multiple times. After using them with epoxy, I wipe them off on paper tools. The next time I use them, the fingers may be stuck together but flexing the gloves soon solves that.
No mater your choice of gloves, use them! It’s not worth taking a chance with your health.
Left to right; latex, nitrile and dish washing gloves.
Better than nothing, latex gloves.
Another good choice, nitrile (or neoprene) gloves.
My choice for epoxy work, long cuff dish washing gloves.
What you DON’T want to see, contact dermatitis.