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In a series of experiments the integrity of vinyl and latex procedure gloves were tested under in-use conditions. Both types of gloves were tested by three methods: watertight (645 samples), bacterial penetration (50), and dye exclusion (90). Results of the watertight test demonstrated visible defects in 4.1% of vinyl and 2.7% in latex gloves. Twenty percent of latex gloves and 34 % of vinyl gloves which had passed the watertight test allowed penetration of Serratia marcescens when worn by volunteers. A series of manipulations designed to simulate approximately 15 minutes of clinical activity in an intensive care unit resulted in failure rates as high as 66%. Using the dye penetration test, there was a statistically significant difference between vinyl and latex procedure gloves with full manipulations, with failure rates of 53% and 3%, respectively. Both types of gloves provided some barrier protection. However, latex gloves performed better when stressed.

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