Heat Wave Puts Spotlight on Proper Storage of Disposable Gloves

The recent heat wave in the U.S. West puts a spotlight on proper storage of disposable gloves.

Whew. What a scorching weekend.

Folks on the U.S. West Coast, especially in the Pacific Northwest, have been suffering through unprecedented heat. Temperatures are expected to remain somewhere between miserable and dangerous through the week. Triple-digit highs and unusually warm nights have tested everyone’s patience (and the electrical grid as well).

If you sell disposable gloves for a living, you should be aware of the havoc that heat can wreak upon your inventory.

Gloves are meant to be stored at temperatures lower than 40 degrees Celsius—that’s 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The preferred range is between 50 and 72 F. If your warehouse is air conditioned and of modest size, your product should be safe. But with this kind of sustained heat, and if you have a cavernous warehouse that must be cooled, the chances of unintentionally high indoor temperatures rise greatly.

Turn down lights, set the thermostat lower

It is imperative to store your disposable nitrile and latex gloves in a space that is cool and dark. If stored properly, latex gloves have a shelf life of about three years, while nitrile, vinyl, and poly gloves are generally safe for five years.

Other helpful reminders: Remove shrink wrap from pallets of stacked cartons; break apart stacked cartons on each pallet and restack or reconfigure cartons to facilitate ventilation; check gloves periodically for signs of deterioration like tackiness, brittleness, or an acrid smell; and shield gloves from exposure to moisture, direct sunlight, ultraviolet light, x-ray machines, and other sources of ozone.

That ozone is just plain nasty stuff

Even low levels of UV from fluorescent lights can affect the characteristics of gloves. Ozone gas can penetrate glove packaging and damage gloves in the box. Ozone sources include electric motors, furnaces, air conditioners, fans, and other electric motorized devices. Also included are high-energy sources, such as fluorescent light transformers, arcing equipment, electrocautery units, and spark generators.

With most of the forecast models predicting a hotter-than-normal summer ahead for a good chunk of the country, it’s a good time to check your warehouse HVAC system and make sure your valuable glove inventory is stored safely.

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