Title:
Manipulation shield and containment for contaminated matter
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A thin film gloved envelope is provided to be worn on the hand and arm of a person during manipulations and/or examination of hazardous or noxious articles or matter. While the article is held in the gloved hand the sleeve or skirt that was covering the arm can be reversed and rolled over to cover the article. A sealing mechanism or strip around the opening is then used to seal the article inside the envelope. The film may be transparent to allow visual examination and in alternative implementations the envelope may be of a substantial size, provided with two dependent gloves for two-handed manipulation. This latter form is useful for enclosing larger articles or matter.



Inventors:
Brockman, Robert (Bakersfield, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/074657
Publication Date:
08/14/2003
Filing Date:
02/14/2002
Assignee:
BROCKMAN ROBERT
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D19/00; (IPC1-7): A41D19/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MORAN, KATHERINE M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
I. Michael Bak-Boychuk (Long Beach, CA, US)
Claims:

It is claimed:



1. A disposable thin film manipulation shield useful in the course of handling and enclosing an article, comprising: a flexible glove provided with a first opening for receiving a hand of a person therethrough for grasping and manipulating said article; a generally tubular flexible sleeve extending from said first opening and provided with a second opening conformed to receive the arm of said person extending towards said first opening; and sealing means deployed at said second opening and rendered effective upon the inversion of said sleeve and extension over said article, whereby the grasped article is sealably enclosed within the reversed common interior of said sleeve and glove.

2. A thin film shield according to claim 1, wherein: said sealing means includes elongate bead strips adjacent said opening conformed for interlocked engagement upon the inversion of said sleeve.

3. A thin film shield according to claim 1, wherein: said sealing means includes an elongate adhesive strip adjacent said opening aligned for adhesive engagement upon the inversion of said sleeve.

4. A thin film shield according to claim 3, wherein: said adhesive strip is covered by a ribbon that is adapted to be peeled off.

5. A thin film shield according to claim 1, wherein: said glove and said sleeve are formed of a transparent thin film material structure.

6. A thin film shield according to claim 5, wherein: said sealing means includes elongate bead strips adjacent said opening conformed for interlocked engagement upon the inversion of said sleeve.

7. A thin film shield according to claim 5, wherein: said sealing means includes an elongate adhesive strip adjacent said opening aligned for adhesive engagement upon the inversion of said sleeve, said adhesive strip being covered by a ribbon that is adapted to be peeled off.

8. A thin film arm and hand covering useful in shielding a person while manipulating and inspecting an article that is suspected to be contaminated with hazardous or noxious matter, comprising: a flexible transparent envelope defined by an interior and exterior surface and including an opening therein, said envelope extending distal of said opening to form a flexible glove, whereby said arm is receivable through said opening for insertion of said hand in said glove; and sealing means deployed on the exterior surface of said envelope adjacent said opening and rendered effective upon the inversion of said envelope to extend over said article to sealably enclose said article within the reversed common interior of said envelope and glove, such common interior being then defined by the reversed exterior surface.

9. A thin film covering according to claim 8, wherein: said sealing means includes elongate bead strips adjacent said opening conformed for interlocked engagement upon the inversion of said sleeve.

10. A thin film covering according to claim 8, wherein: said sealing means includes an elongate adhesive strip adjacent said opening aligned for adhesive engagement upon the inversion of said sleeve.

11. A thin film covering according to claim 10, wherein: said adhesive strip is covered by a ribbon that is adapted to be peeled off.

12. A thin film arm and hand covering useful in shielding a person during the course of manipulating and inspecting an article that is suspected to be contaminated with hazardous or noxious matter, comprising: a flexible transparent envelope including an opening therein and extending distal of said opening in a flexible glove, whereby said arm is receivable through said opening for insertion of said hand in said glove; and sealing means deployed on the exterior of said envelope adjacent said opening and rendered effective upon the inversion of said envelope to extend over said article to sealably enclose said article within the reversed common interior of said envelope and glove.

13. A thin film covering according to claim 12, wherein: said sealing means includes elongate bead strips adjacent said opening conformed for interlocked engagement upon the inversion of said sleeve.

14. A thin film covering according to claim 12, wherein: said sealing means includes an elongate adhesive strip adjacent said opening aligned for adhesive engagement upon the inversion of said sleeve.

15. A thin film covering according to claim 14, wherein: said adhesive strip is covered by a ribbon that is adapted to be peeled off.

16. A disposable thin film enclosure useful in shielding the arms and hands of a person during the course of manipulating and inspecting an article that is suspected to be contaminated with offensive matter, comprising: a flexible transparent envelope including an opening therein said envelope extending distal of said opening to form a plurality of flexible gloves, whereby said arms are receivable through said opening for insertion of said hands in corresponding ones of said gloves; and sealing means deployed on the exterior of said envelope adjacent said opening and rendered effective upon the inversion of said envelope to extend over said article to sealably enclose said article within the reversed common interior of said envelope and gloves.

17. A thin film enclosure according to claim 16, wherein: said sealing means includes elongate bead strips adjacent said opening conformed for interlocked engagement upon the inversion of said sleeve.

18. A thin film enclosure according to claim 16, wherein: said sealing means includes an elongate adhesive strip adjacent said opening aligned for adhesive engagement upon the inversion of said sleeve.

19. A thin film enclosure according to claim 18, wherein: said adhesive strip is covered by a ribbon that is adapted to be peeled off.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to containment techniques and devices for hazardous matter, and more particularly to a flexible manipulation enclosure within which articles suspected to be contaminated can be examined and thereafter stored.

[0003] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0004] Recent events have significantly affected the conduct of everyday life, particularly in those instances that are susceptible to mischief, sabotage or even terror. Amongst these are the ordinary delivery processes like the mail or parcel delivery which have been subverted for dissemination of hazardous matter to the public at large. The resulting potential for disruption of the ordinary processes of commerce has an enormous consequence on the whole economy, and the long-term effects cannot be overstated. As result, various techniques are currently sought to attenuate this threat.

[0005] A major aspect of any response to a chemical or biological hazard is the safe collection and storage of all articles that are suspected to have been contaminated, with the range of article suspects increasing with the virulence of the hazard. Good analytical processes then require that this collection be effected in organized logical patterns in which the individual articles are identified and separately enclosed to reduce any incidents of cross-contamination. This analytical technique is then helpful in revealing both the source of the hazardous substance and the mechanism of its delivery, information that is critical in any response.

[0006] In the past various techniques and structures have been devised which in one manner or another shield the person that is engaged in manipulation of hazardous tasks or matter. Most frequently such shielding structures are exemplified by devices referred to as the “glove box” in which the user inserts his hands into the interior of a cavity through affixed rubber gloves. Exemplary glove boxes useful in shielding the person from hazards of sandblasting abrasion is described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,099,395 to Guseman; a sterile shielding structures useful in the course of surgical treatment of highly infectious maladies described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,316,541 to Fischer; an enclosure for containing welding gases in U.S. Pat. No. 5,685,771 to Kleppen; and others. Each of these, while suitable for the purposes intended, entails a generally complex enclosure that is therefore expensive. This expense limits the discardable aspects of the device, particularly in a household setting. Moreover, the complexity and physical size of these structures renders such less than fully useful for sealing and conveniently storing the inspected mail article until the suspicions regarding its contamination are resolved.

[0007] Of course, there are other instances where manipulative convenience is desired in a discardable enclosure. For example, those engaged in home repairs often need to manipulate and thereafter discard soiled plumbing pieces and the simple task of an automobile oil filter replacement requires manipulative grasping and sealed confinement of the filter that is then discarded. Thus there are numerous instances where shielded manipulation is desired and once effected the manipulated article needs to enclosed and discarded. An inexpensive, discardable and sealable manipulation shield is therefore extensively sought and is one such shield that is disclosed herein.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] Accordingly, it is the general purpose and object of the present invention to provide a flexible glove structure provided with a sealable edge.

[0009] Other objects of the invention are to provide a flexible glove extending from an enlarged tubular wrist segment that includes a sealable edge at the opening thereof.

[0010] Yet further objects of the invention are to provide a flexible tubular enclosure formed of a transparent polymer sheet, terminating at one end in a glove and including a sealable edge at the other end.

[0011] Additional objects of the invention are to provide a discardable manipulation shield that is also adapted to contain and seal the article manipulated.

[0012] Briefly, these and other objects are accomplished within the present invention by providing a flexible, reversible transparent glove formed to extend at its wrist opening from one end of a tubular enclosure provided with a sealable edge at its other end. Preferably both the glove and the enclosure are fabricated as a single piece with the enclosure defining a substantially larger envelope. With the user's arm inserted, the enclosure can then be turned inside-out and pulled over to surround any article grasped by the glove. Once so aligned to envelope the grasped article the sealable edge at the enclosure can then be closed, sealing the article therein. The article thus sealed can then be taken for analysis or can be collected for safe disposal.

[0013] Those in the art will appreciate that the foregoing glove and arm cover combination is particularly conformed as an inexpensive article that may be fabricated by heat stamping of any one of the several polymer sheet material structures like, for example, clear polyethylene film. Unlike the dexterity necessary for surgical procedures the function of the present inventive shielding structure needs to accommodate only such manipulations as may be necessary to lift and then enclose the article suspected of contamination and the shielding envelope, therefore, can be effected in a form that is even less expensive than a surgical glove. The seal itself may be effected as a simple adhesive strip covered by ribbon that may be peeled off when sealing is desired, or may take the seal structure sold under the mark or symbol “ZipLoc” by SC Johnson. In this manner a convenient, inexpensive and therefore discardable shielding envelope is devised which is useful in a home to manipulate envelopes and packages delivered while such are enclosed, useful in hazardous substances collection and also in the collection of evidence or samples in the course of any criminal or scientific investigation.

[0014] For those applications where two handed grasping is necessary, as for example when lifting larger articles from ground, a plastic bag may be provided with a glove in each bottom corner, with the user's arms then extending through the bag to each glove. As before, the bag opening may include a sealing strip to effect a seal once the bag is turned inside-out and extended over the article.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] FIG. 1 is a perspective illustration of the inventive manipulation shield in its first implementation;

[0016] FIG. 2 is a further perspective illustration of the inventive manipulation shield shown in FIG. 1 deployed over the hand and forearm of a user;

[0017] FIG. 3 is a detail view, in perspective, of an alternative sealing mechanism useful with the inventive manipulation shield;

[0018] FIG. 4 is yet another perspective illustration of the inventive manipulation shield having a portion thereof inverted to surround an article grasped by the user;

[0019] FIG. 5 is a sectional side view of the inventive shield deployed to contain an article suspected to be hazardous;

[0020] FIG. 6 is a perspective illustration of a further embodiment of the inventive manipulation shield conformed for confining articles requiring two-handed manipulation; and

[0021] FIG. 7 is yet a further perspective view of the shield shown in FIG. 7 deployed to confine and article.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0022] As shown in FIGS. 1-5, the inventive manipulation shield, generally designated by the numeral 10, comprises a thin film sleeve 11 extending from the wrist opening of a thin film glove 12 both combined to form a loosely fitted common envelope for receiving the hand, wrist and forearm of a user. Both the glove and the sleeve may be formed from sheet polymer material structure, for example clear polyethylene sheet, by joining or heat welding the peripheral edges of the layered polymer sheeting to define both the glove 12 and the sleeve 11, the glove then further including individual finger envelopes 15 for each of the several digits of the hand. This manner of construction results in an inexpensive envelope or hand shield formed of a thin film that can be worn by a person when manipulating matter held by the gloved fingers. Once so used the sleeve 11 may be inverted and rolled down to extend over the gloved hand grasping any article or matter AM to surround and enclose the article and a sealing strip 21 on the interior of opening 14 into sleeve 11 is then useful to fully enclose the grasped matter. Once thus sealed off the user's hand may be withdrawn from the glove 12, leaving the article AM fully contained either for disposal or for laboratory examination.

[0023] The general dimensions of the sleeve 11 and of the glove 12 extending therefrom are defined by longitudinal seams 11a and 11b joining an upper polymer sheet US to a lower sheet LS to each other to form a loose envelope for the arm and the hand, any excess longitudinal dimension of the sleeve being conveniently taken up in a plurality of folds. This general planform shape can further include excess transverse dimension in the sleeve 11 to render convenient the sleeve reversal process described above and to accommodate a variety of shapes and dimensions of the grasped article AM. To effect the sealing strip generally shown at 21 both the upper sheet US and lower sheet LS may include the interlocking beads 121 of a sealing mechanism sold under the mark ZipLoc aligned adjacent the edges forming opening 14. Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 3 an adhesive strip 221a covered by a peelable ribbon 221b may be utilized, again adjacent the edges of opening 14.

[0024] Those in the art will appreciate that the sealing closure of opening 14 needs to be effective only after the sleeve 11 is inverted and rolled down over the gloved hand grasping the article AM. Thus the interlocking sealing ribs 121, or strips 221a and their corresponding covering ribbons 221b, are deployed on the exterior surfaces of the sleeve 11 when it is worn on the user's arm. In the course of fabrication, however, the interlocking or sealing strips are positioned adjacent each other to assure proper sealing alignment and it is therefore contemplated that the course of fabrication is thereafter followed by a full inversion of the surfaces before vending. This both assures a good eventual seal and furthermore spreads the surfaces from each other in their vended form, thereby rendering convenient the use of the inventive shield.

[0025] By further reference to FIGS. 6 and 7 an alternative implementation 110 of the inventive manipulation shield may include an enclosure of substantially larger dimensions useful in confining larger articles. Like numbered parts functioning in a like manner to that earlier described, this enclosure is once more effected by the surfaces of sleeve 11, this time enlarged as a rectangular envelope of substantial dimensions and designated by the numeral 111. As before envelope or sleeve 111 communicates with the glove 12 but because of the difficulty of one handed manipulation of larger articles a second glove 112 is also provided, gloves 12 and 112 being generally deployed at the respective comers of the envelope.

[0026] In the course of use the lower surface LS of envelope 111 is allowed to drape onto ground next to the article AM while the user's hands are received within the respective gloves 12 and 112. While thus shielded the user then rolls or otherwise manipulates article AM onto the lower surface LS of envelope 111 and thereafter seals it within the envelope by way of the above described sealing sequences of the interlocking ribs 121 or the exposed adhesive strips 221b. The article can then be further visually inspected through the transparent surfaces forming the enclosure 111, may be disposed or may be sent away for further laboratory examination.

[0027] In both forms the inventive shield 10 and/or 110 is particularly useful in handling questionable articles delivered by post or other public means of delivery. The recipient can thereby confine the questioned article in an envelope of substantial integrity and may either transfer same to such public agencies assigned to investigate, or may simply defer inspection until the suspicion of terrorist activity is fully resolved. Of course, the inventive shields are also useful to facilitate evidence collection or even as containers for collecting and disposing unsanitary objects or matter.

[0028] Obviously, many modifications and variations of the present invention can be effected without departing from the spirit of the foregoing teachings. It is therefore intended that the scope of the instant invention be determined solely by the claims appended hereto.