Disposable gloves are an essential food safety item used throughout medical cannabis cultivation. They act as a barrier, protecting maturing plants from contamination transfer from workers' hands. On the flip side gloves also protect worker’s skin from chemicals and resin. Here’s the truth about single-use gloves.
Workers’ gloves must adjust to match the cannabis plant as it matures. From dealing with resin to defoliating, the best gloves for harvesting medical cannabis vary, to best handle the changing plant, at each stage of cultivation.
Gloves for Harvesting & What To Look For
Processing - Cannabis plants and stems can snag gloves during processing which requires slightly more durability. The Eagle Visible 5mil nitrile glove provides the strength needed as well as a slight texture for an enhanced grip. If workers are reaching through and between plants where more arm protection is needed, we recommend using the Eagle Double Tough 8mil nitrile glove which offer more protection with an extended cuff.
Drying - Hanging cannabis plants may seem like a simple task, but the dried plants can be a challenge when it comes to snagging and ripping gloves. The Eagle Visible 5mil nitrile glove is durable enough to withstand the drying plants and additionally has a slight texture which allows a better grip.
Trimming - Whether dry or wet trimming, gloves need to be considerably durable as they can become caked in resin. But this is the stage where details matter and the flower gains its shelf appeal power. Trimmers need to be able to feel exactly what they are doing. The Eagle Sensitive* 4mil nitrile glove is a thinner glove, allowing for tactility, without sacrificing strength. After trialling our Sensitive nitrile glove, a cannabis producer told us,
“These gloves are super durable when working with the cannabis flower. The glove doesn't tear as easily as the other gloves I use which are the same variety of product and I like how the grip on the fingertips are. The fingertips are super helpful and have been a life changer when working with the product, it feels like I can actually manoeuvre it without it slipping.”
Fun fact, Eagle Sensitive* nitrile gloves are a great choice for workers with sensitive skin since they are accelerator-free. For trimmers who demand extreme tactility, our Eagle FineTOUGH 2.6mil nitrile gloves are a great choice.
6 Tips About Gloves For Harvesting
Similar to cannabis, there is a wide variety of quality in disposable gloves. How do you know which gloves to purchase for harvesting? Follow these tips below.
1. Thickness & Glove Strength
The largest factor determining how easily gloves rip and tear, are the raw materials they are made with. Many users understandably believe a thicker glove is stronger and won’t tear as easily. This isn’t true because cheap gloves can be produced with fillers such as chalk in order to decrease manufacturing costs. Chalk doesn’t stretch, which is a huge problem since elasticity is a major component of a glove’s strength and quality.
The quality of ingredients and manufacturing standards are directly correlated to the quality of gloves produced. Here’s a quick and easy test to estimate the quality of your gloves.
Glove durability is important for a few different reasons:
- It’s more expensive. When a glove rips, it’s no longer usable and has to be thrown away and replaced.
- It reduces efficiency when a worker has to stop working to change gloves.
- It’s a contamination risk. When a glove rips, all of the glove juice (i.e. sweat, bacteria and everything from inside of the glove and on the worker's hand) is released and can contaminate the product.
2. Glove Grade
Sterile gloves are the cleanest gloves and are used in hospital environments such as for surgery. Medical-grade gloves are subjected to a series of FDA specified tests to ensure the gloves meet a defined list of safety requirements.
Food-handling gloves must comply with the United States Food and Drug Administration regulations (FDA Title 21 CFR Part 177). Raw materials must be of “substances generally recognised as safe for use in food or food packaging.” Food grade gloves are minimally tested, allowing an extremely wide range of quality gloves to enter the New Zealand market.
Industrial grade has some room for interpretation. Some industrial grade gloves have had food-grade testing and others have not. We do not recommend using industrial grade gloves for handling the product. If you choose to do so, we strongly recommend verifying they have at least passed food glove testing and have an Acceptable Quality Level (AQL) of 2.5 or lower.
When sourcing gloves for harvesting medical cannabis, we recommend using either medical grade gloves or food-grade gloves from a manufacturer with verified quality protocols in place.
3. Cleanliness (aka. Contamination Risk)
Imagine this. You test your product and have a recall because there is a chemical transferred from contaminated gloves. This story isn’t far-fetched, it's happened before.
Product purity could be ruined by one box of dirty gloves. Gloves handle medical cannabis along every part of the cultivation process. It’s important to know the gloves touching the product don't have mould, fungus, pathogens or toxic chemicals on them that can transfer to and contaminate the product.
4. Skin Issues
Wearing gloves for long periods of time can lead to workers developing skin allergies and irritation due to the enclosed environment a glove creates. Cheap gloves manufactured with low-quality materials and chemicals also increase the risk of causing skin irritation. Read how to avoid skin disease and hand issues caused by disposable gloves.
5. Acceptable Quality Level
AQL measures the quality of the gloves by indicating how many pinhole defects there are right out of the box. The lower the number, the higher the glove quality. For instance, to pass inspection, medical-grade gloves require an AQL score of 2.5 or lower—which means a maximum of 2.5 gloves with pinhole defects per 100. We recommend using gloves with an AQL 2.5 or lower.
6. Chemical Protection
A glove’s chemical rating varies due to the different ‘recipes’ used to make the gloves. If working with chemicals, it’s imperative to verify the glove being used in order to provide adequate protection from this chemical. If unsure, contact the supplier and they should be able to provide this information.
Our Recommended PPE Products
There’s a lot that goes into sourcing gloves. Safeguard what matters and source quality gloves for harvesting medical cannabis to protect your product, staff and brand. See our recommendations below of what Eagle nitrile gloves are best for each stage of production and testing process.
1. Disposable Nitrile Gloves
Our most tactile glove, these gloves are ideal for detailed work without sacrificing strength.
A tactile, but durable nitrile glove that provides protection from skin irritation and glove allergies.
A durable, fully textured nitrile glove that reduces ripping without sacrificing comfort.
Diamond Textured (6mil)
A tough, diamond textured nitrile glove that reduces ripping and offers an enhance grip.
Double Tough (8mil)
Extra thick, strong and durable. Designed specifically where strength and coverage is required.
2. Disposable Clothing
Designed for the complete coverage of hair.
Soft, comfortable fit for
Elasticated for a firm fit to provide full arm coverage.
Foe use where minimal fluid droplet exposure may occur.
Comprehensive level of waterproof front, back and shoulder protection.
Cost effective protection against spills and contamination.
Full body waterproof coverage with thumbhooks that ensure arm/wrist containment.