Buying gloves is becoming difficult as there are numerous different options available to suit different needs.
Gloves come in many materials like latex, nitrile, and vinyl.
Before we discuss Nitrile gloves more and why they have become so popular, let us see the different types of gloves and their special features.
Medical or industrial gloves use different fabrics and materials. Some of these are –
Latex Gloves: The gloves contain natural rubber and have been around for a long time.
They are very flexible and very comfortable. They fit snugly and hence, do not hinder sensitivity for the wearer.
They create a barrier against bacteria and viruses and are waterproof to a great extent.
They were very popular and possibly the only choice until the advent of polymer or plastic gloves.
Vinyl Gloves: The gloves contain a synthetic polymer that is cost-effective and comfortable.
Some people also call it synthetic rubber.
It protects from chemicals, fluids, and germs to a large extent, but so far, this is less effective than Nitrile gloves.
Nitrile Gloves: The gloves contain synthetic polymer material.
Stretchy and comfortable, these gloves are also durable against stress and long work hours in different industries.
The gloves are successful in providing a barrier to chemicals and biological germs.
This is the more popular choice of material these days.
Why are Latex gloves losing their place in the market?
Due to their amazing protective features, Latex gloves have been popular for a long time.
But their utility value cannot overcome the fact that people have allergic reactions to the rubber proteins present in them.
The latex gloves also have a coating of powder, which may trigger sensitive reactions in some people.
Healthcare providers often prefer Latex gloves due to their wonderful protection, elasticity, and snug-fitting.
Surgeons also find them very convenient for surgeries and delicate procedures.
But slowly, the awareness about allergies and their triggers is percolating to everyone, and people have become more careful about the same.
Now they would rather opt for a better solution in polymer gloves than the allergy trigger.
They don’t want any patient or co-worker to suffer due to a careless choice of rubber gloves.
The nitrile and vinyl gloves provide convenient options for people across industries and not just the medical sector.
Vinyl gloves are cheap and disposable. PVC- Polyvinyl chloride is a synthetic substitute with many characteristics like rubber.
The material is not very durable as it can tear easily and is not as stretchy as latex or nitrile.
It does protect against chemicals, but it is not too effective against germs.
Nitrile gloves come out a winner here too.
The material resembles latex due to its stretchiness and is very durable, and does not tear easily.
It is slightly more expensive than the vinyl gloves and yet provides more protection against chemicals, bacteria, and other minute germs.
If you compare all the different types of gloves, you’ll see that nitrile gloves are the best option for people across industries.
- They are cost-effective.
- They do not trigger allergies in people.
- They provide the best protection amongst the available synthetic gloves.
- They are comfortable and stretchy and do not hamper sensitivity to a great extent.
What are nitrile gloves?
Disposable gloves contain synthetic materials that replace natural rubber.
Nitrile is a chemical compound or a polymer that contains a chain of molecules that form a strong bond providing durability and other qualities.
The nitrile material is available in many colors, though we find blue gloves the most common.
Manufacturers combine acrylonitrile and butadiene to create this polymer. Initially, it was an alternative to latex at the time of its launch and was very expensive to make. Now the technology is better, and it has become very affordable and easy to make these gloves.
Here are 7 interesting facts about nitrile gloves
Its special features make it very popular. It protects hands against chemicals, but it can also react with certain acids being a synthetic material.
It is a safe option for use in most industries. It is sterile against most fluids and waterproof.
You cannot wear it while working with red fuming nitric acid, which is highly flammable, and a rocket propeller.
The two compounds, nitrile in the gloves and nitric acid, may combust spontaneously and lead to burns and injuries.
Another interesting feature that makes it popular with the medical fraternity is that it is a thin polymer. The glove encloses hands snugly and perfectly and allows the fingers to be very flexible. That is why medical professionals like these gloves as it helps them retain the sensitivity to touch essential for diagnosing and treating patients. In addition, the nitrile gloves come with a special design on the outside that helps them grab objects easily.
Nitrile gloves may also be popular in other industrial sectors due to their sterile nature against most fluids and harmful chemicals.
It is available in many colors, and industries can choose the perfect color for their business. Black nitrile gloves have become popular over the years in mechanical work.
Mechanics and technicians like to use these gloves, as do the hair stylists and tattoo artists. These are stylish and sturdy at the same time.
1) Use of nitrile gloves in the Health industry
From caregivers to the senior-most doctors and surgeons face many hazards of infections and contamination every day.
Now that we realize the issues with latex gloves, nitrile gloves have become their first line of defense in their fight to save patients.
The nitrile gloves are protective and affordable at the same time. Disposable gloves also reduce the chances of cross-contamination.
These are useful in –
- Dental Clinics
- Homecare Centers
- Hospitals – both Outpatients and in-patients
- Nursing Homes
- Chemotherapy Centers
The service industry uses these gloves, and the practice has become essential now because of the pandemic. The service providers in many businesses come in direct contact with their clients and also handle chemicals and other fluids.
Some of these are-
- Tattoo Parlors
- Beauty Salons & Spas
- Janitors and cleaning crew
- Food and restaurant businesses.
2) Using Nitrile gloves in the food industry
This is not a small industry and includes many businesses that involve food processing, packaging, restaurants, food delivery, and many other stakeholders.
Even a small incident of contamination can lead to major lawsuits and danger to health.
The workers and consumers alike will benefit from the use of gloves and protective tools.
The food processing industry has to be extremely conscious of hygiene at every stage of processing and packaging.
Similarly, restaurants and beverages industries also need to take care of employees and keep the customers safe at the same time. Their responsibility to maintain cleanliness is essential to comply with the regulations also.
Gloves play a major role in this context and especially nitrile gloves. The gloves are inexpensive, easy to use with tools and equipment, and allow the workers to prevent injuries.
3) Industrial use of Nitrile Gloves
The Industrial sector is vast, and we cannot talk about only one or two businesses.
From oil exploration to mining and sanitary services, from the automobile industry to aerospace, all the industries have one common factor: the safety of their employees.
Gloves and other safety equipment are integral to this exercise.
There are industry-specific requirements for protective gear. These are essential to prevent injury due to tools and chemicals in that industry.
Therefore the specifications of thickness, length, and resistance to tearing and chemicals are very important while choosing any pair of nitrile gloves for your business.
Most businesses use Industrial-grade disposable nitrile gloves-
- Manufacturing and production facilities.
- Chemical industry
- Paints manufacture and construction material industry
- Electrical industry
- Electronics industry
- Pharmaceutical industry.
This list is not exhaustive, and every industry must use gloves as a part of their safety gear.
What to expect from industrial use Nitrile gloves?
The light and thinner gloves provide adequate protection when a technician uses small precision tools to assemble electronic items.
The same gloves may be suitable for tasks that involve technical work in any industry that does not involve heavy machinery and strong chemicals.
The right gloves fit the hands perfectly and allow dexterity and flexibility.
The low friction also helps the users wear the gloves and take them off easily without causing any tearing.
Sensitivity to tools is also necessary while wearing the gloves, and nitrile gloves provide a good solution as they are soft and flexible.
Some trades need special chemical-proof gloves that can be thicker to provide a barrier and yet be functionally comfortable.
These gloves will protect the hands from solvents, oils and acids, resins, grease, and many other fluids common in the industry.
You must keep in mind that nitrile gloves must not come in contact with nitric acid.
4) Country’s FDA regulations
Regulations in industries mandate that every business uses the appropriate protective gear for its employees.
NIOSH and OSHA define the standards for safety for each industry and its processes.
They also define the protection that the gloves must provide to the users. All the different types of gloves must pass the barrier effectiveness tests. For example-
- Provide a barrier against viral and bacteria
- Prevent exposure to hazardous material.
The agencies allocate different code numbers for easy identification, and the industry must adhere to the same while providing gloves to its employees.
Similarly, FDA and CDC also assign codes for nitrile gloves for different medical uses.
Every glove manufacturing company cannot have its specification and resistance levels while manufacturing gloves.
They must follow the regulations, and buyers must find it easy to compare the available models.
Usually, people equate thickness with its protective quality.
But it may not always be right when it comes to disposable nitrile gloves. Due to their flexibility and chemical composition, they can be very thin and yet be very strong.
The thickness of a nitrile glove does not indicate its strength or resistance to chemicals and tearing.
It is not a good idea to have thick nitrile gloves in some situations.
Many manufacturers add filler to add thickness, and that will make the gloves very unsafe for use.
The fillers are inferior materials and do not add any value to the gloves.
The gloves may break and damage easily without providing any safety to the users.
Each company has different needs, and they must try different types of gloves and check their quality before deciding the right ones for their employees.
The only way is to try every glove for its quality and resistance through physical trials. But, also keep in mind the regulatory specifications from the authorities.
5) Thickness levels of disposable nitrile gloves
The most common measure for the thickness of gloves is mils- .001 inch. The other measure is micron.
These are very minute measurements and may be difficult to gauge for lay people like us.
The gloves usually have different thicknesses across the surface.
The fingertips may be thicker, and palms may be thinner in some gloves.
Alternatively, a ribbed nitrile glove may have some cushioning in some parts like the palm and maybe thicker there.
Measuring the thickness is, therefore, very difficult. Again physically checking and wearing the gloves will help you understand the glove’s thickness in different areas.
6) Check the strength of the gloves
No one can check or compare the gloves for strength without actually using them against different parameters.
You cannot apply the same rule of strength or thickness to all the nitrile gloves from different companies.
The regulatory standards define various measures for checking the strength of gloves.
The EN standard test for different hazards in industries can help to check the strength of a glove.
The guidelines mention the resistance to puncture, tear, abrasion, and chemicals, and a company can follow the guidelines for choosing the right gloves for their business.
We will describe a few points here that will help you understand the way the guidelines work.
- Puncture resistance is the measure where they check the gloves’ capability to resist sharp tools and even the nails of wearers. Very thin gloves may not have much resistance to puncture.
- Tear resistance is important every time you wear a glove as it stretches to its limits when you pull it on; the fingers and nails may also damage the gloves. This will also demonstrate how well it can withstand pictures and tears. The higher number of puncture resistance or tear resistance will show it to be a tougher glove.
- The higher abrasion resistance of a glove shows that it can tolerate abrasion, corrosive surfaces, and rough edges while in use.
- Higher numbers in cut resistance will show the glove to be resistant to sharp tools like knives and blades.
- We have a few examples – the EN374 / AS/NZS 2161.10.1 standard defines the chemical resistance, and EN388 helps us understand the mechanical damage resistance of the gloves.
7) Understand the various standards of resistance and choose the right gloves
You can see some of the industry standards set by the regulatory authorities to make it easy for people and businesses to choose the right gloves.
The numbers and codes follow an alphanumeric pattern, and each letter defines resistance to a particular class of chemicals.
More numbers/ alphabets would mean the glove is resistant to more chemicals and so on.
This should help you choose the right gloves for your business.
Irrespective of all the standards and codes, the best way to choose a glove is to try it personally.
Safety is the only goal, and you reach out to experts to find the right solution if you cannot find suitable gloves for your business.
Do nitrile gloves contain latex?
Nitrile gloves are an alternative to rubber or latex gloves. These contain chemicals and additives, but no rubber or its derivatives are part of these gloves.
Some people may be allergic to the chemicals used in nitrile gloves, and that’s why it is important to clear the doubt.
Nitrile gloves do not contain latex yet may trigger some allergic reaction due to the chemical process of manufacturing. These are not hypoallergenic but still a better choice than latex ones.
Are black nitrile gloves suitable for any kind of work?
Black nitrile gloves are like any other nitrile gloves and are disposable.
These may not be suitable for medical use as the healthcare needs are different.
They may benefit more from grading and light-colored gloves.
These gloves are more useful for mechanics and outdoor work.
Many people like to use these gloves for gardening and carpentry work.
Some black nitrile gloves may also have sweat-absorbing fleece inside and make the wearer feel comfortable.
Nitrile gloves are stronger than other varieties like latex and vinyl. They are also more resistant to the dangers in the line of work and different trade.
The gloves come in many specific colours suitable for different industries.
Mechanics need strong, flexible, and slightly thicker gloves, and black nitrile gloves fulfill this need.
Can I use nitrile gloves in my food business?
Nitrile gloves that adhere to the FDA regulations are safe to use in the food and restaurant business.
All the manufacturers may not follow the same guidelines.
So first, find out the regulations for the glove manufacturers/ brands from whom you buy the gloves for your use.
Check their regulatory codes and compliance records. Also, it will be good to check with other businesses in your area and online to see the suitable gloves you can use in your business.
Usually, Nitrile gloves do not contain the following components and are therefore safe to use in the food industry
- Powder coating
What Do Nitrile Gloves Protect Against? Are they Waterproof?
Nitrile gloves are water-resistant to a certain extent.
They have robust to the most chemicals that we use every day.
They can protect the employees’ hands from grease, acids, and oil and the hazardous chemical solvents that they use.
They can prevent injuries due to sharp tools and constant repetitive use of machines.
The nitrile material can keep the user’s hands harmless from many germs and fluids and prevent contamination.
This is like a chain and stops the operator from spreading the germs and contaminating any surface they come across.
It is important to understand that nothing can stay impermeable for a long time.
Though the gloves protect against water and chemicals, they may develop some minuscule holes invisible to the eyes or tear due to constant stress after very long and continuous use.
Then your hand will be defenseless against the chemicals and harmful agents.
It is, therefore, important to check the gloves for any wear and tear from time to time and change as often as possible.
How long can I keep the nitrile gloves in storage as I have a bulk delivery for my business?
Nitrile gloves can stay in storage for a long time. But then they must be kept in a cool and dry place away from sunlight.
Sun rays affect and deteriorate most things over a long time due to the ultraviolet component.
You can also check the expiry date on the boxes of gloves. It is a fact that prolonged storage will have some adverse effect on the chemical composition of the gloves.
They may decompose and stick together and tear when you try to remove one from the box.
Take care while storing them and use them soon.
How to recycle Nitrile Gloves?
Nitrile Gloves are recyclable in many countries and states. The gloves must be put in a separate bin for recycling.
You must carefully pack the gloves and ship them to the recycling center to ensure that the waste does not contaminate anyone on the route.
In places where no recycling facility is available, you must ensure that the gloves go in the garbage pile for disposal.
Nitrile disposable gloves would ultimately disintegrate.
However, they will take a lengthier time to break down when compared to latex or other natural materials.
The chemicals in the nitrile gloves may also leach into the ground. It is important to dispose of the gloves safely.
Now more people are using disposable gloves in almost every task at home or at work too. They have helped prevent the spread of viruses and other germs.
We must take care in disposing of the chemical polymer gloves.
The viruses and germs in the gloves may contaminate and spread germs to more people unless every person can dispose of them safely.
Every time you change the gloves, follow the protocol for correct removal and disposal. This protocol is relevant for all industries. Medical professionals must take more care and follow the regulations for the biohazard disposal of gloves.
The nitrile gloves have charmed every industry across the world because of their features.
They are inexpensive and easy to use. They cause fewer allergies compared to latex and are available abundantly everywhere.
They are available in different colors, and industries can find customized designs for their needs.
The only negative aspect is that the material is not easily biodegradable. Hence proper recycling of gloves is important.
We must take care of the disposal of these gloves and ensure that they do not become a problem instead of a solution. Ensure that you follow the protocol of wearing the right gloves and stay safe.