Hands wearing gloves handling ground meat

Results - Vinyl Gloves Study 2019

Gloves Obtained from Distributors

We tested 60 disposable vinyl food-handling gloves from 24 distributors. Of these, 10 gloves (from 7 distributors) contained ortho-phthalates (16.7% of gloves tested).

A full list of the gloves tested can be found in the Appendix: Table C: Food-handling Vinyl Gloves from Distributors Results and Table D: Non-Vinyl and/or Non-Food-handling Gloves from Distributors Results.

Gloves Collected from Restaurants

In all, our research teams collected 63 disposable food-handling gloves from 56 unique restaurant locations in 14 states. 41 of the gloves collected at restaurants were vinyl and 4 of these (10%) contained phthalates.

Vinyl gloves were collected from 38 of 56 locations visited, or 68% of all restaurant locations visited. If not using vinyl, the restaurants used polyethylene (20 locations, 32% of all locations) or nitrile gloves (3 locations, 5% of all locations). Panera Bread, Subway, and Starbuck’s use polyethylene gloves for food-handling (although one location of Starbuck’s reported the use of vinyl gloves for cleaning). Most McDonald’s locations used both polyethylene and vinyl gloves, with employees reporting the vinyl was used for finished food-handling and polyethylene for the grill or raw food. Table 7 shows the glove materials used at different restaurants and Table 8 is a representation of the safest to most toxic glove material choices of restaurants.

Sometimes the glove box was not available in the restaurants that were visited, and in those cases the distributor, brand, and product number are unknown. Our results show that the same restaurant chain does not necessarily have the same types of gloves at all locations. Full results are in the Appendix: Table E: Gloves from Restaurants Test Results.

Table 7: Material identification of restaurant glove samples by FTIR analysis

Restaurant Glove Type (Number of Gloves Tested) Ortho-Phthalates Found in Gloves
Burger King (9 locations) Polyethylene (4) None detected
Vinyl (5) 1 glove with DINP, small amount of DIDP
Chick-fil-A (1 location) Vinyl (1) None detected
Chipotle Mexican Grill (5 locations) Vinyl (4) None detected
Polyethylene (1) None detected
Domino’s (1 location) Nitrile (1) None detected
Dunkin’ Donuts (1 location) Vinyl (1) None detected
KFC* (3 locations) Vinyl (2)** None detected
Nitrile (1)** None detected
McDonald’s (15 locations) Vinyl (12) 2 gloves with DINP, small amount of DIDP
Polyethylene (8) None detected
Panera Bread (1 location) Polyethylene (1) None detected
Pizza Hut (1 location) Vinyl (1) None detected
Popeye’s (1 location) Vinyl (1) Row:14 Cell:3
Starbucks (4 locations) Polyethylene (4) None detected
Vinyl (1) None detected
Subway (2 locations) Polyethylene (2) None detected
Taco Bell* (5 locations) Nitrile (2)** None detected
Vinyl (3)** None detected
Tim Hortons (1 location) Vinyl (1) None detected
Wendy’s (9 locations) Vinyl (10) 1 glove with DINP, small amount of DIDP

*Two locations are combined KFC and Taco Bell restaurants
**One glove is from a combined KFC and Taco Bell restaurant


Table 8: Representation of the Safest to Most Toxic Glove Material Choices of Restaurants

The findings presented in the table do not guarantee that all restaurant locations will be consistent.


All Vinyl Food-handling Gloves (Distributors and Restaurants)

In all, we collected 101 vinyl food-handling gloves of gloves for analysis and found that 14 of these contained ortho-phthalates. Ten of 31 distributors had produced gloves with phthalates and sourced their gloves from over 44 manufacturers, as shown in Table 9. One additional distributor produced gloves with phthalates, Intco, but they were medical gloves and the results are in Table D of the Appendix.


Table 9: Phthalate Detection in All Vinyl Gloves by Distributor

Glove Distributors No. of Suppliers* No. of Vinyl Gloves with Phthalates No. of Vinyl Gloves Tested
FoodHandler/ Bunzl 10 3 6
Omar, Inc. NA 2 8
Inteplast Group 11 2 3
Tronex Safety NA 1 10
AmerCareRoyal 13 1 7
511 Foods 2 1 3
AMMEX 3 1 3
Akers Industries, Inc. 1 1 1
Gordon Food Service NA 1 1
Prime Source 4 1 1
SmartChoice NA 0 8
The Safety Zone 21 0 6
Unknown NA 0 6
Elara 4 0 4
Spring-Fill NA 0 4
Ansell 5 0 3
Daxwell 4 0 3
GD Care 3 0 0
Handgards 12 0 3
Volk Protective Products 4 0 3
Liberty Glove & Safety 2 0 2
Noble NA 0 2
Rofson 3 0 2
Agio Group Inc. 1 0 1
Ambitex NA 0 1
Medline NA 0 1
Sara Glove 1 0 1
ServGuard NA 0 1
Uline NA 0 1
Victoria Bay NA 0 1
Westchester Protective Gear NA 0 1

NA = No data available

*Suppliers are manufacturing companies supplying gloves to the distributor according to data on non-medical vinyl gloves imported from 2015-2018, from U.S. Trade data compiled by Panjiva.


The most common plasticizer used was DOTP. Of the eleven phthalates quantified by GC/MS, four were found in some gloves: DINP, DIDP, DPHP, and DEHP. In most cases the phthalate compounds were found in combination, except for DPHP, which present by itself. The 100 vinyl gloves collected from distributors and restaurants fall into these categories:

  • DOTP, a non-phthalate alternative plasticizer (85)
  • DOTP and a smaller amount of DINCH – another non-phthalate alternative plastizer (1 glove, tested only 3 out of 86 gloves without ortho-phthalates and DOTP)
  • DINP and a smaller amount of DIDP (11 gloves)
  • DPHP (3 gloves)
  • DINP and DEHP, and a lesser amount of DIDP (1 glove)

Table 10 shows the plasticizer results in further detail.


Table 10: Plasticizers in Disposable Vinyl Food-handling Gloves from Distributors and Collected from Restaurants

Plasticizer Frequency of Detection in Vinyl Gloves (n=101) In the Gloves That Contained the Specified Phthalates: Percentage by Weight
Minimum Maximum Mean
Phthalate Plasticizers
All ortho-phthalates 14% 21.50% 41.56% 33.89%
DEHP 1% 7.66% 7.66% 7.66%
DINP 11% 16.40% 40.80% 32.41%
DIDP 11% 0.11% 3.44% 1.23%
DPHP 3% 21.50% 24.90% 23.03%
Non-Phthalate Plasticizers
DOTP (DEHT) 84%* 27.90% 34.00% 32.30%
1%* 2.59% 2.59% 2.59% 2.59%

*3 gloves of 86 without ortho-phthalates were tested by GC/MS to quantify DOTP and DINCH. The rest of the gloves were screened for the presence of DOTP and DINCH using FTIR.

See Table A: Chemical Names and Acronyms for more information on the chemicals mentioned