GLOVES FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS (FAQ)
Gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE) are critical to any organization’s PPE supply, but they are especially vital to healthcare workers and other industries that interact with the public. They protect your hands from blood and other bodily fluids and may also prevent other contaminants from contacting the skin.
However, different glove materials have other pros and cons. Nitrile, vinyl, and latex gloves should only be used in specific settings. Of these glove types, nitrile blend gloves have the broadest possible range of use.
Vinyl gloves are made of PVC and are cheaper than nitrile and latex gloves. They offer insufficient resistance to chemicals, and they aren’t strong enough for use in environments where they might get punctured or contaminated with unknown fluids. However, they are a good choice for low-risk environments.
Latex gloves are made of natural latex rubber that is stretchy and strong. Some people have an allergy to latex proteins, so latex gloves are not always an appropriate option for healthcare settings. Plus, latex may degrade quickly when exposed to certain oils and chemicals.
Nitrile gloves are made of acrylonitrile-butadiene rubber, a synthetic rubber that’s strong and resistant to chemical reactions. They have an excellent balance of elasticity and strength but are expensive to manufacture.
Nitrile blend gloves use a combination of nitrile and PVC paste to allow these gloves to be manufactured through a cheaper process than ordinary nitrile. Despite the lower price tag, they retain many advantages of nitrile.
Nitrile and nitrile blend gloves are latex-free. Although this may seem unimportant if you don’t have a latex allergy, some people suddenly develop latex allergies after being exposed to the material for an extended period. Organizations where workers require gloves for PPE must keep nitrile or nitrile blend gloves on hand as an option.
Latex gloves are known to wear thin when exposed to hydrocarbons, which include oil-based chemicals like gasoline. However, nitrile blend gloves protect against many industrial chemicals and oils. Nitrile blend disposable gloves may be inappropriate for all industrial settings, and you should consult with an industrial hygienist for your specific situation.
Nitrile blend gloves are stronger than latex in their puncture resistance, and when they are punctured, they show the puncture more visibly than latex. Punctures in latex often aren’t visible and may go unnoticed until the wearer feels fluid or another substance they’re meant to be protected against.
Nitrile glove material does not resist punctures as effectively as heavy-duty work gloves designed for industrial applications. However, most everyday work situations will find disposable nitrile gloves sufficient and hygienic enough for widespread use.
A nitrile blend glove is an appropriate option for food prep. Since they are powder-free and cost-effective, it’s easy for employees to switch between these gloves whenever necessary to maintain hygiene and food safety standards. Latex, vinyl, and PVC are also food safe, but they don’t provide the same level of strength and flexibility as nitrile blend gloves.
Since they are generally chemical-resistant gloves, nitrile blend gloves are an excellent light-duty glove for settings where you don’t know exactly what you will be coming into contact with. They are perfect for most emergency room use, cleaning, light factory work, and other settings where the main goal is preventing exposure to pathogens or grime.
They work well for foodservice and janitorial work since they don’t degrade easily when exposed to oils. Nitrile blend gloves are usually the go-to option for healthcare workers since they balance strength and elasticity.
When compared to latex, they are slightly less stretchy and offer lower touch sensitivity. Because of this, surgeons sometimes prefer to use latex gloves if they and the patient have no latex allergies. Other medical professionals may also prefer latex in some settings, but nitrile or nitrile blend always need to be available as a safe alternative.