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Personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential for workplace safety in many industries. Although retailers sell many types of PPE, including disposable vinyl gloves, you can also source your equipment from a specialized PPE wholesaler.
Learn about the advantages of buying your vinyl gloves wholesale and how a specialized supplier is a better long-term source for your PPE.
The primary advantage of ordering your nitrile and vinyl gloves (or any other type of PPE) from a specialized wholesaler is the possibility of ordering large quantities. The average box of disposable gloves typically contains 100 units. While purchasing a few boxes from a retailer every month may be sufficient for home or personal use, most retailers don’t allow bulk purchases, and the cost per unit is higher.
If you run a business where your employees must use disposable gloves for their daily tasks, your personnel likely go through several boxes every week. Therefore, restocking requires making bulk purchases.
Ordering from a wholesaler offers two advantages when operating as a business. You can place larger orders and benefit from a lower price per unit, making wholesale a more cost-effective way of sourcing your disposable gloves.
Average retailers typically only stock the types of gloves in the highest demand. If you have specific PPE requirements (such as gloves with a particular thickness or medical grade), retailers may not carry what you need.
A specialized PPE wholesaler typically stocks as many types and variants of each item as possible. If you need multiple types of latex gloves, a wholesaler is more likely to stock models made of both natural rubber and synthetic rubber materials in lightly powdered or powder-free glove varieties.
If your business needs to use gloves of different colors for differentiating tasks when handling products in the food industry, wholesalers may stock uncommon combinations of colors and materials. Examples include transparent vinyl, red latex, or black nitrile.
When choosing a professional PPE wholesaler, you want to partner with a supplier with specific credentials. Whether you’re in food services or medical care, look for qualifications like “FDA-approved,” “CDC-approved,” or “ASTM-tested.”
The purpose of these certifications is to prove the wholesaler supplies quality products in compliance with all relevant laws, standards, and regulations. Vinyl gloves sold in the United States must meet the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards under ASTM D5250.
Additionally, if the company is registered with the FDA or SAM.gov, they are approved to do business with the federal government. In turn, government entities are likely to buy from (and therefore, trust) that company, adding a layer of legitimacy.
Partnering with a specialized supplier also means you can benefit from quality customer service. They can give you accurate product information and offer suggestions according to your needs.
If some of your staff have a latex allergy, a PPE wholesaler can recommend latex-free alternatives that won’t cause harmful allergic reactions. If you need gloves for specific high-risk tasks, ask about a particular model’s tear and puncture resistance.
You can also ask them whether you need powder-free or powdered gloves, the difference between N95 and KN95 masks, or which level of protection you need for your medical gowns. Reputable suppliers should answer all your questions about their products and help you make the best choices for your needs.
At ICU Production Inc., our objective is to supply our customers with the highest-quality PPE available. We offer disposable gloves of all types (vinyl, nitrile, latex), face masks, medical gowns, and more.
We are FDA and SAM-registered, and our products are tested or approved by all relevant organizations in the United States (FDA, CDC, ANSI, AAMI, ASTM).
Vinyl gloves are among the most common types of disposable gloves on the market, alongside nitrile and latex. Although vinyl isn’t as ubiquitous as latex or in high demand like nitrile, this type of glove offers many advantages that cannot be understated.
Discover the advantages of vinyl as a disposable glove material, and learn the top five reasons why they may be the perfect choice for your needs.
One of the most significant advantages of vinyl gloves is their versatility. Although they are all made of the same synthetic material (polyvinyl chloride or PVC), you can find many types of vinyl gloves on the market, each suited for a different industry or application.
Standard vinyl gloves are suitable for food preparation tasks. They offer a safe barrier between the wearer’s hands and the ingredients, keeping the food products safe from contamination. Vinyl also provides sanitation personnel with adequate protection against germs and bacteria.
For industrial and manufacturing jobs, choose high-strength variants. These models give the wearer extra grip and are more resistant to tearing, stretching, and exposure to oils and chemicals.
If you frequently work with electronic materials, vinyl gloves are naturally anti-static. Wearing them allows you to manipulate wires, power cords, or sensitive parts without the risk of causing an electrostatic discharge (ESD).
You can also purchase medical-grade vinyl gloves. Standard models are suitable for low-risk tasks, such as senior care or day-to-day hospital activities. For high-risk applications, such as surgery, you should purchase exam gloves instead. Exam-grade gloves are FDA-approved for safe use in surgical procedures where there is prolonged exposure to bodily fluids.
PVC, the primary material found in vinyl gloves, is the third most-produced plastic polymer and one of the least expensive choices. This characteristic makes vinyl gloves typically less costly than nitrile or latex.
The cost-effectiveness of vinyl gloves increases with bulk purchases. Purchasing a higher quantity means a lower individual cost of each glove. A business in the automotive industry may benefit from ordering large quantities of black vinyl gloves instead of black nitrile. Despite offering no advantages for automotive tasks over vinyl, nitrile gloves are typically more expensive. Therefore, vinyl is the more cost-effective choice.
Although latex gloves are durable and comfortable, gloves made of natural rubber release latex particles that can trigger allergic reactions in specific individuals. Latex allergy symptoms range from skin irritations, rashes, and inflammations to more severe conditions, such as blisters or anaphylactic shock.
Although latex gloves made of synthetic rubber exist, they can still cause reactions in people suffering from a latex allergy, including contact dermatitis.
To prevent all possible complications from personnel touching or using latex products, you may need to use a 100% latex-free alternative. Of the three most common types of disposable gloves (nitrile, latex, and vinyl), only nitrile and vinyl are guaranteed to be 100% latex-free.
If some of your employees have a latex allergy, vinyl is a safe and cost-effective alternative to disposable latex gloves.
Although multiple thickness levels are available, all vinyl gloves are durable. Their high tearing, stretching, and puncture resistance allow them to hold up well to wear and tear, reducing the number of torn gloves your facility goes through.
Vinyl gloves suited for higher-risk tasks (medical-grade, exam-grade) usually feature higher thickness ratings (4-mil or higher). This gives them additional sturdiness over standard models. If needed, your staff can safely use these extra-strong gloves for low-risk tasks.
You may notice that specific brands of disposable vinyl gloves feature a powdered label. Powdered gloves possess a cornstarch powder coating on the inside of the glove. The purpose of this powder is to make the gloves easier to put on and remove.
However, the FDA banned the use of powdered gloves in medical settings in 2017, citing health risks to patients. They are also not recommended for use in food preparation, as the powder can contaminate food products.
Fortunately, vinyl gloves are also available in powder-free variants. These models feature safer and allergen-free donning agents, making them safe to use in food service and medical contexts.
ICU Production Inc. is a leading supplier of personal protective equipment (PPE). We sell products suitable for use in various industries, from automotive to healthcare.
ICU Production Inc. offers a wide selection of disposable gloves (including vinyl, nitrile, and latex), face masks, face shields, medical gowns, and other PPE essential for workplace and employee safety.
Gloves are an essential type of personal protective equipment (PPE) used in many industries, from healthcare to food preparation. However, not all disposable gloves are the same, and some types of gloves may be unsuitable for food handling.
Learn what gloves to wear when handling food or eating, how to respect food safety and health department protocols, and whether nitrile gloves are food-safe.
The primary purpose of single-use disposable gloves in food preparation and handling is to protect ingredients and ready-to-eat food products from contamination.
There are two types of contamination: To protect the food from contact with a worker’s hands (specifically, their bare skin) and protect against cross-contamination with other food products.
For example, if you transition from handling raw meat to preparing a sandwich, you risk contaminating the sandwich with meat juices or blood. Changing gloves between tasks protects the sandwich from contamination and lowers the risk of transferring a foodborne illness.
Although not regulated at the federal level, the FDA strongly recommends wearing gloves when preparing food. Many states and municipalities enforce legislation prohibiting restaurant and food preparation employees from touching food with bare hands.
The four most common types of food handling gloves are poly gloves, latex, vinyl, and nitrile. Although each type is suitable for food preparation, they possess different health and safety properties.
Poly gloves are transparent food handling gloves made of polyethylene. They are thin and typically only suitable for low-intensity food preparation duties, such as handling ready-to-eat food and fresh ingredients.
Poly gloves are inexpensive and safe to use (there are no allergies associated with poly gloves). However, they are unsuitable for many other tasks and should only be used for light food preparation.
Latex gloves are made from a material composed of approximately 45% water and 55% tree rubber. Latex can be natural (harvested from rubber trees) or synthetic (produced in a factory) and is known for its high durability and versatility.
In the past, latex gloves were considered the industry standard for disposable gloves. However, studies regarding the prevalence of latex allergies have shown that approximately 4.3% of the general population may suffer allergic reactions from wearing latex products.
Latex allergy symptoms are typically minor skin irritations. However, certain people may suffer from more severe effects, such as coughing, sneezing, difficulty breathing, and even life-threatening anaphylactic shock.
Vinyl gloves are made out of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a petroleum-based product and one of the most widely-produced plastic polymers in the world.
Vinyl gloves were one of the first latex-free disposable glove materials developed to replace latex gloves. They are versatile and inexpensive, making them suitable for various food-related tasks, including food handling, preparation, and cooking.
They are also ideal for ancillary jobs like operating the cash register, counter tasks, cleaning, and low-risk janitorial tasks.
Although generally safe and versatile, vinyl gloves possess some drawbacks. The PVC material used in a vinyl glove is susceptible to degradation when stretched, even if there are no holes or tears. Stretching a vinyl glove damages its molecular integrity, significantly reducing its effectiveness as a pathogen barrier and increasing contamination risks.
Additionally, PVC is an environmentally-unfriendly material. PVC is the third most-produced type of plastic polymer. Studies revealed it is also one of the most damaging to the environment. This is due to the disposable nature of vinyl gloves and the toxicity of the compounds used in their construction (e.g., phthalates).
Nitrile is a synthetic rubber product. Although the material was invented in 1931, nitrile didn’t become a leading latex-free material for disposable gloves until the mid-1990s.
The primary advantages of nitrile are its high resistance to oils and chemicals and its high durability. The automotive and aeronautical industry initially used nitrile to make oil and fuel hoses, seals, and self-sealing tanks.
Nitrile is less flexible than natural rubbers or vinyl. However, it became the material of choice for medical-grade gloves (also known as exam gloves) due to its higher resistance to cuts and punctures than all other materials.
Although nitrile gloves are generally more expensive per unit than other types, they offer numerous advantages that make them well worth the sticker price.
Nitrile is considered to be the gold standard for PPE in the hospitality and food manufacturing industry. They are certified by HACCP and the FDA, and their durable construction means they are less likely to overstretch and split or be punctured during food prep tasks.
Because they are hypoallergenic, there is no risk of employees or consumers having an allergic reaction due to food prep methods. They are also easy to don and doff, reducing the risk of microbial transference between food prep tasks.
Today, nitrile is the most durable and versatile material available for disposable gloves. Although you don’t need exam-grade nitrile gloves for eating or food preparation, some types and brands may be unsuitable for handling food.
When purchasing nitrile gloves, consider whether you need powdered or powder-free gloves. Powdered gloves are coated in cornstarch powder, a donning agent. While powdered gloves fit better, the cornstarch powder tends to stick to hands, increasing the risk of cross-contamination. Always use non-powdered nitrile gloves for food handling tasks to minimize germ transference.
ICU Production, Inc. is an industry-leading supplier of personal protective equipment with over ten years of experience supplying high-quality gloves, face masks, medical gowns, hand sanitizer, and more. Our customers include healthcare organizations, businesses, and government agencies.
For more information on our products, call us today at (323) 970-2513 or browse our online catalog.
Medical gowns are personal protective equipment (PPE), commonly used for infection control in hospitals, emergency rooms, pathology labs, and other healthcare settings. They protect the wearer from potentially harmful pathogens, microorganisms, and body fluids.
As new research, health threats, and industry standards emerge, hospitals, labs, and medical facilities must alter PPE policies accordingly. With new pathogens and drug-resistant bacteria, such as COVID-19, healthcare institutions must ensure their staff, patients, and visitors are kept as safe as possible.
There are several types of medical gowns, with different styles designed for specific medical use. When it comes to levels of protection, there are two main areas of focus. These are the critical zones of protection and liquid barrier performance.
Critical zones of protection are the vulnerable parts of the body that are susceptible to disease transmission or the transfer of hazardous pathogens and microorganisms.
For patient and medical professional safety, medical gowns are manufactured with specific critical zones of protection. Depending on the type of gown and it’s intended uses, these zones may differ.
Liquid barrier performance is a medical gown’s ability to protect the wearer from fluid penetration. Certain bloodborne or liquid pathogens have different penetration power, meaning gowns must be fluid resistant and provide adequate liquid barrier protection to the wearer.
Other critical protective characteristics include tensile strength, tear resistance, seam strength, lint generation, and water vapor transmission (breathability).
The American National Standards Institute and the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (ANSI/AAMI) set the standards for liquid barrier performance. They categorize different gowns across four levels of protection in the critical zones.
Level 1 medical gowns are designed for minimal risk procedures, where exposure to harmful pathogens is unlikely. They are typically worn by doctors and nurses providing basic care and performing non-invasive procedures.
These gowns can only block small amounts of liquid. Level 1 gowns are often provided as cover gowns for visitors in a standard medical unit.
Level 2 medical gowns protect the wearer in low-risk medical situations like pathology lab work or drawing blood. They offer adequate protection for fluid penetration from splashes and splatters.
Level 3 medical gowns offer protection in moderate-risk situations, including certain invasive procedures (e.g., arterial blood draw or inserting an IV line) and trauma cases. This type of gown can protect the wearer against liquid soakage and splatter.
Level 4 medical gowns are designed for use in high-risk situations and intense fluid procedures, such as surgery. These gowns offer the highest level of protection and are recommended for scenarios where infectious disease is suspected.
All ANSI/AAMI-approved gowns undergo stringent testing to ensure they provide maximum protection to the wearer. All gowns are tested for impact penetration, while level 2, 3, and 4 gowns are also tested for hydrostatic pressure.
Level 1 gowns are tested using a single method. The surface of the gown material is sprayed with water, then analyzed to assess resistance and barrier protection performance.
Level 2 gowns undergo two tests. The first analyzes its resistance and barrier protection performance against low levels of water spray and penetration. The second tests its water resistance to low levels of liquid exposure and penetration under constant contact with increasing pressure.
Level 3 gowns undergo the same tests as level 2 gowns, but they are tested for water resistance to moderate liquid exposure, penetration, and pressure.
Level 4 gowns are tested for water resistance and fluid penetration, as with level 2 and 3 gowns. However, they also undergo a separate test using simulated blood containing a virus. The gown is exposed to the blood then analyzed. It can only pass if there is no virus detected following exposure.
All gowns are clearly labeled with their protection level. Be sure to choose the right type of medical gown with an appropriate level of protection for the task.
There are three main categories for medical gowns. These are surgical gowns, surgical isolation gowns, and non-surgical gowns.
A surgical gown is an FDA-approved, Class II medical device used in moderate to high-risk situations. A Class II device requires knowledge and special controls to ensure safety and effectiveness. Surgical gowns must also undergo a premarket review, called a 501(k) premarket notification. Manufacturers must submit for approval from the FDA, demonstrating their surgical gowns are safe and effective before being legally marketed.
Surgical gowns are designed for surgical procedures to protect the wearer and the patient from the potential transfer of harmful pathogens, microorganisms, body fluids, and particulate matter.
Surgical gowns are suitable for virtually all medical scenarios, whether the required protection level is 1 or 4. As procedural gowns, these garments must offer comprehensive protection of critical zones.
For standard surgical gowns, critical zones include the entire front area and the arms from the wrists to the elbows. In most cases, the back of the gown is non-protective.
Surgical isolation gowns offer maximum levels of protection and are suitable for protecting the wearer in any medical situation, including high-risk surgical procedures. The FDA regulates these isolation garments, which are categorized as Class II medical devices. The main differences between these two gown types are the critical zones of protection.
The entire isolation gown is regarded as a critical zone, meaning every aspect of the device, from the seams to the primary protective material, must meet the highest levels of liquid barrier performance as outlined by the ANSI/AAMI standards. The only materials exempt from meeting these standards are the hems, cuffs, and bindings.
Surgical isolation gowns are often longer than standard surgical gowns to provide complete coverage.
Non-surgical gowns are not used for surgery or invasive procedures. Unlike surgical and surgical isolation gowns, they are categorized by the FDA as Class I medical devices. This means they are suitable for low to moderate risk situations and are subject to the least regulatory control.
Not all isolation gowns are surgical. Isolation gowns that provide protection levels between 1 and 3 are unsuitable for high-risk and fluid intensive procedures like surgery.
However, non-surgical isolation gowns must also cover as much of the body as is necessary for the specific task. All areas of the gown must offer adequate liquid barrier protection for its assigned level.
The most important factors for choosing the right gown for maximum protection are the levels of protection and the type of garment. Once you have determined what level of risk, critical zones of protection, and the necessary liquid barrier performance, some other key considerations include:
While there are standard sizes for some PPE, it’s important to use fitted medical gowns where possible. Ill-fitting PPE can be a major safety hazard, restricting the wearer’s movement and causing discomfort. If a surgical gown is too tight, a surgeon may be unable to perform optimally. If an isolation gown is too loose, it may snag on equipment, compromising the wearer’s safety and the patient.
When choosing medical gowns, purchase the right sizes for staff. Consider taking the measurements of workers to ensure a good fit and maximum protection.
Breathability is an important safety factor in certain instances. For example, workers in a stuffy laboratory or vaccination center may require gowns made from more breathable material to work comfortably and safely.
Sterile gowns are most commonly used for invasive procedures or where there is a risk of contamination. Non-sterile, reusable gowns are often sufficient for general patient care or low to moderate risk medical situations.
There are pros and cons to choosing reusable and disposable gowns. Reusable and disposable gowns are available in all four protection levels, meaning they can both be used for surgical procedures, provided they pass the necessary testing.
While disposable medical gowns are often more convenient, a recent NCBI study suggested that reusable gowns may offer increased protection and cost savings because of their durability and sustainability.
Choosing the right medical gown helps protect healthcare workers, patients, and visitors from disease transmission and harmful pathogens. Whether you need level 4 surgical isolation gowns for surgeons or a fresh batch of non-surgical gowns for trainee nurses, ensure you source quality equipment from a reliable supplier, like ICU Production Inc.
We provide high-quality medical gowns from levels 1 to 4. All of our equipment is FDA regulated and available in a range of sizes. We stock a variety of PPE, including gloves, masks, face shields, hand sanitizer, and kids’ equipment.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) plays a key role in protecting employees across various industries, including healthcare, pharmaceutical, construction, oil and gas, and manufacturing. PPE has recently come under intense scrutiny due to the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic. While regular PPE use, such as wearing a mask, is relatively new for members of the public, it is commonplace in some professions.
According to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), PPE is worn in work environments to reduce the risk of exposure to potential hazards that could lead to illness or injury.
Depending on the industry, injuries and illnesses may stem from close contact with physical, mechanical, electrical, chemical, radiological, or other types of workplace dangers. PPE is a key measure for source control in the medical industry, reducing the spread of COVID-19, harmful bacteria, airborne or bloodborne pathogens, and other disease microorganisms.
The OSHA, World Health Organization (WHO), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites are excellent information resources for workers in all industries requiring PPE.
Workers who are new to a job, or still adapting to changing workplaces in the wake of the COVID-19 virus, can benefit from learning about PPE and how to use it properly.
Employers are responsible for providing adequate PPE for their staff. They must also ensure employees are given formal training on workplace safety and correct PPE use. Workers are required to know:
To ensure workers are using PPE effectively, employers should develop a PPE program. This helps identify potential hazards, determine which PPE is most suitable, and outline an effective training schedule for all workers.
PPE protects users from workplace injuries and potential occupational hazards. Most PPE is designed to protect the individual wearer. For example, steel toe cap boots, hard hats, gloves, and safety goggles on a construction site help keep workers safe from lacerations, falling objects, or burns from machinery, equipment, or welding tools.
PPE also protects businesses and healthcare organizations from major incidents and lawsuits. Under OSHA guidelines, employers must ensure the workplace is free from recognized hazards that contribute to accidents, injuries, or death.
Since 2008, employers have been responsible for paying for their employees’ PPE. They are also responsible for determining PPE requirements, sourcing them, and providing employees with adequate equipment. Should the PPE become outdated or broken, the employer is responsible for replacing the equipment.
Employers assume responsibility for deciding what PPE their workers should use. To determine what PPE is needed, employers should conduct a PPE hazard assessment. This is a multi-step process that helps businesses identify risks and find the right PPE to mitigate them. The key steps involved are:
Employers conduct a thorough walk-through of the workplace and survey the area for potential hazards. OSHA, professional health and safety bodies, and insurance companies provide guidelines for orchestrating risk assessments. There are also independent risk assessment companies that can conduct the survey on a company’s behalf.
Risk assessors look for hazards in the categories of impact, penetration, chemical, heat, compression, and radiation. Once definite hazards are determined, businesses must find a way to repair them or protect employees through PPE usage.
Next, they analyze the data from the survey and determine what PPE is necessary to offer maximum protection for employees. Management must learn about the available PPE, its limitations, and its protective capabilities.
Employers take the measurements of their workers to ensure they order the right size PPE. Where possible, PPE should be fitted to the individual.
Once the PPE needs are determined, the employer must buy the equipment from a reputable supplier.
Employers must create a PPE program to assign PPE, train employees, and monitor its use. Employers need to assess the effectiveness of PPE continuously. They should also track supply levels to ensure adequate provisions at all times.
For most industries in the US, the official regulations for PPE are created and enforced by OSHA. The regulatory standards align closely with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), particularly for eye, face, head, and hearing protective equipment.
However, several other bodies maintain their own high standards when it comes to PPE. For example, the FDA provides medical equipment guidelines, like gowns, gloves, and surgical masks. The CDC has a set of standards for protecting against infectious diseases in various healthcare settings.
When purchasing PPE, it’s essential to check that it is regulated by an authoritative body and is thoroughly tested.
Depending on the industry, you may be encouraged to wear different types of PPE to protect against COVID-19. In hospitals and healthcare facilities with highly vulnerable patients, workers must follow strict guidelines for proper PPE use. Even for minor procedures such as a medical assessment, doctors and nurses may need to wear respirators, gowns, gloves, face masks, or eye protection.
In offices, retail stores, warehouses, and hospitality businesses, workers typically wear face masks, face shields, or both. Most workplaces have strict hand sanitation protocols and mandate that staff frequently wash their hands or use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
OSHA recommends that regardless of your vaccination status, you should continue to wear appropriate PPE at work. Since fully vaccinated people are still capable of contracting and transmitting the COVID-19 virus, OSHA encourages workers to wear face coverings while they are inside to protect others.
The CDC recommends members of the public wear cloth face coverings with two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric. The mask should completely cover your nose and mouth and fit snugly for better protection.
N95 respirators are reserved for medical personnel. These products, labeled as “surgical,” are considered PPE and filter the air you breathe and help reduce the transmission of airborne pathogens.
Not all PPE offers the same level of protection. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are four different levels of protection for standard PPE: Level A, B, C, and D.
Level A PPE is used to protect the wearer when there is a high risk of exposure to potential hazards. Examples of level A PPE include a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), chemical and vapor protective suits, chemical resistant gloves, and disposable protective suits, gloves, and boots.
This equipment is designed to offer the maximum level of respiratory protection and a slightly less comprehensive level of skin protection. Types of level B equipment include inner and outer chemical-resistant gloves, coveralls, and chemical-resistant boots.
This PPE level protects the user from potential airborne hazards. Wearers are usually aware of the dangerous substances, and the equipment is chosen to protect against them. Standard level C PPE includes air-purifying respirators, chemical-resistant gloves, face shields, and chemical-resistant boots.
Level D equipment provides minimum levels of protection to the wearer. It is designed to prevent contamination or pathogen transmission from splashes, certain levels of immersion, and inhalation of hazardous chemicals. Typical level D PP includes gloves, safety glasses, face shields, and steel-toed boots.
Depending on your work environment, you may be required to wear a combination of PPE that offers various levels of protection.
Most PPE is designed for one-off use by a single person. Following exposure to hazardous materials, the PPE can become a source of contamination, making further use unsafe. The level of protection the equipment provides also reduces over time.
However, there are some exceptions. According to the FDA, items such as an elastomeric respirator mask or protective goggles can be used multiple times if appropriately decontaminated. Certain types of medical gowns are also designed for reuse.
PPE shortages forced workers to reuse specific equipment recommended for single-use, such as face masks and N95 respirators throughout the pandemic. One of the most important factors for maintaining a safe environment after extended PPE use is disposing of your equipment correctly.
All PPE users should be trained on how to apply, use, and remove equipment properly. This limits the spread of potential disease and reduces the risk of exposure to harmful materials. PPE is only effective if it is used correctly, including donning, doffing, and disposal. Follow your workplace PPE guide on correct and safe disposal methods.
The WHO recommends disposing of all PPE through a closed-lid receptacle. Used PPE should always be regarded as potentially infectious waste, so maximum precaution must be taken when handling these items.
Providing high-level protection for your employees through quality PPE is a simple and effective method of maintaining a safe and sanitary work environment. Ensure you source all equipment from a reliable supplier, such as ICU Production Inc. We are a leading provider of FDA-approved PPE across various industries, from manufacturing to healthcare.
Visit our online store to browse our comprehensive supply of PPE, including medical gowns, N95 respirators, surgical masks, hand sanitizer, and more. Find all the protective equipment you need from one reliable source with ICU Production Inc.
A medical gown is a form of personal protective equipment (PPE) designed for use in medical and healthcare settings, such as surgical procedures, checkups, and other situations where there is contact between healthcare workers and patients. Medical gowns are effective at preventing the transfer of microorganisms and infectious agents to workers and vulnerable patients. There are several different types of medical gowns, with some capable of offering higher levels of protection.
Healthcare facilities need to keep an adequate supply of PPE to ensure high levels of sanitation and patient care are maintained at all times. This is a crucial element of an overall infection-control strategy. Hospitals, surgeries, and other medical practices must not only stock enough medical gowns for patients and staff, but they must also be sure it is appropriate for its intended purpose and offers the correct levels of protection.
Before selecting medical gowns for a healthcare facility, management should understand the primary routes of disease transmission, the different types of medical gowns, and the fluid resistance and levels of protection they provide.
One of the most important factors in choosing the right type of gowns and surgical equipment is recognizing the dangers associated with infectious diseases and how to combat the risk of exposure.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are two main routes of disease transmission. The medical gowns you choose should protect against each of these.
Direct contact transmission is where microorganisms transfer directly through physical contact between infected and vulnerable people. Indirect contact transmission occurs through contaminated surfaces, objects, or live hosts such as mosquitos, fleas, flies, rodents, or dogs.
Respiratory droplets transfer via airborne transmission. This can be bacteria spread through dust particles or respiratory droplets from sneezing, coughing, or breathing. Doctors and patients may absorb these particles when they come into contact with their eyes, nose, or mouth.
Using the right medical gown provides a protective barrier between the wearer and infectious bacteria, reducing the risk of exposure through contact or droplet exposure.
Medical gowns are closely regulated, and each piece of clothing must meet industry standards for gowns. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes standards outlined by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Association of the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI). Details of these standards are explained in the 2012 publication, ANSI/AAMI PB70.
Gowns intended for medical use are graded by their liquid barrier performance and classification of protective apparel. This is essentially the effectiveness of the clothing against liquid penetration, for example, body fluids, airborne pathogens, or bloodborne bacteria.
Medical gowns are tested to ensure they meet the minimum standards and are allocated a protection level between one and four. Testing is obligatory to verify that the equipment is suitable for use in medical scenarios with varying degrees of risk.
These gowns are designed for medical scenarios of minimal risk, such as basic care or standard checkups. They should not be used for any type of invasive procedure, like drawing blood or surgery. Level 1 gowns are commonly used by hospital visitors as well as patients and medical workers.
Level 2 gowns are resistant to low amounts of fluid penetration. They are intended for use in low-risk medical scenarios, like suturing, drawing blood, and general use in an intensive care unit (ICU).
Level 3 gowns provide enough liquid barrier protection for medical procedures with a moderate risk of bacterial exposure. Emergency room doctors and nurses wear this type of gown for invasive procedures such as intravenous (IV) insertion and trauma cases. Level 3 gowns are resistant to splatter and soakage, protecting the wearer against direct, indirect, and airborne bacteria.
These protective gowns are designed and tested for use in high-risk medical procedures, where infectious disease and harmful pathogens are suspected. They offer the highest level of barrier protection of all gowns and are worn frequently for major surgery and fluid-intensive procedures.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, level 4 garments have been in high demand as the risk of disease transmission in healthcare settings is high. Level 4 gowns are proven to prevent fluid penetration for up to one hour.
As specialized medical devices, hospital gowns are not standardized. They are made from different materials and provide varying levels of protection. The FDA recognizes three main gown designs. The type of medical gowns you choose should be based on patient and staff needs within the facility.
Surgical gowns are regarded as Class II medical devices and require a 510(k) premarket notification. This means that the manufacturer must give the FDA enough time before the product’s release to determine if it is safe and effective. All surgical gowns must be clearly labeled for fast and easy recognition.
Since they must be used for invasive procedures, surgical gowns offer adequate protection for minimal to high-risk medical scenarios. Surgical gowns have a critical zone of protection on the front of the gown, shielding the most vulnerable parts of the body during surgery, from the top of the shoulders to the knees and from the elbows to the wrist.
Isolation gowns are available in all four different protection levels. The unique characteristic of isolation gowns is their critical zone of protection. Apart from the hems, cuffs, and bindings, all gown parts are regarded as critical zones.
Some isolation gowns are approved for surgical procedures and are given a Class II medical device categorization, meaning they must also receive a premarket notification.
Non-surgical gowns are Class I medical devices, meaning they are exempt from premarket notification. These gowns shouldn’t be worn for invasive procedures like surgery. When choosing a non-surgical gown, the most important factor is that it covers enough of the body as the task requires.
When selecting medical gowns, the most important consideration is that they are appropriate for the purpose and offer the wearer adequate protection from potentially harmful pathogens. Ensure all PPE is FDA-approved and thoroughly tested.
Medical gowns must fit the wearer perfectly. Consider the size of employees when purchasing a fresh supply of PPE. If there is a shortage of fitted gowns, universal sizes should be purchased as a backup.
All staff must be trained how to use PPE effectively, particularly when donning and doffing medical gowns. During application and removal, medical personnel may be more vulnerable to disease transmission.
Maintaining safe sanitation standards is crucial in any medical setting. Ensuring you have enough medical gowns of the right type, size, and liquid barrier protection level helps keep your staff, patients, and visitors safe from the transmission of disease and harmful bacteria.
At ICU Productions Inc., we provide FDA-approved gowns from levels 1 to 4. We also stock other quality PPE, including masks, face shields, gloves, and hand sanitizers, so you can find everything you need from one source. Visit our online store to browse our full range of PPE equipment.
Although most personal protective equipment (PPE) is single-use only, recent challenges have prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to publish guidelines and strategies on optimizing PPE supplies in the event of a shortage.
Part of these strategies includes guidelines and methods on how to reuse PPE, which types of PPE you can safely reuse, and what you can do to clean, maintain, or prepare specific PPE types for reuse.
Eye protection includes items such as plastic safety glasses, goggles, and face shields. These types of PPE typically employ easily cleaned and disinfected synthetic materials, such as polycarbonate (PC) or polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
To clean eye protection equipment of any type, follow these steps:
The type of face mask determines whether you can reuse it, and if possible, what methods you can use to wash and reuse them.
The CDC recommends that if you use a cloth mask (e.g., for double-masking), you should wash it once after each use and switch to a different one if it becomes contaminated.
The cleaning procedure for cloth masks is as follows:
Inspect your mask after cleaning. If it has developed holes, tears, or signs of damage, mend it if possible, or dispose of it.
Although surgical face masks and respirators such as the N95 and KN95 cannot be washed once contaminated, you can extend their use by following the proper inspection and storage procedures.
You can wear a standard 3-ply surgical face mask continuously for an indefinite period, unless in the following scenarios:
Although you should not wear an N95 or KN95 respirator for more than 8 hours at a time, you may continue using it unless:
If your mask or respirator does not meet any of these disqualifying conditions, you may store it for later reuse by placing it inside a clean, sealable container, such as a paper bag or a plastic box.
When storing surgical masks this way, fold the mask inward, so the outer surface is held against itself. Consider labeling the container with the owner’s name to avoid redistributing the wrong masks.
Medical and infection control gowns are divided into two categories: disposable gowns made of 100% synthetic materials, such as SMS material, polypropylene, or polyethylene; and washable cloth gowns made of a blend of natural and synthetic materials, typically cotton-polyester.
Disposable gowns (such as those used in general-purpose patient care) should never be washed nor reused. Instead, you should dispose of them the same way as other waste PPE: throw them into the trash immediately after use.
To preserve public health more effectively and avoid spreading contaminants into the garbage disposal system, place your used disposable gowns in a labeled biohazard bag before throwing them away.
Cloth gowns can be washed and reused, provided you follow the proper cleaning procedure:
Although most cloth gowns are made using specific manufacturing techniques and chemical treatments to improve their resistance against contaminants, each washing cycle progressively degrades the gown’s protective characteristics.
Consequently, even washable medical gowns should be considered semi-consumables. Each gown model comes with a maximum recommended number of washing cycles.
It is critical to keep track of the number of times each gown has been washed. Once a particular gown has reached the manufacturer’s recommended washing cycle limit, you must dispose of it using the same methods as with synthetic disposable gloves.
After disposal, replace as necessary with a new gown.
ICU Production, Inc. is an industry-leading manufacturer of CDC- and FDA-approved personal protective equipment suitable for use in healthcare environments.
Browse our extensive range of surgical masks, respirators (N95 and KN95), face shields, medical gowns, disposable gloves, and many other items and accessories essential for workplace safety.
If you’re looking for disposable gloves, you’ll find an array of options on the market. Nitrile disposable gloves are among the most popular options for many applications from healthcare to the foodservice industry. But, what exactly is nitrile, and what do disposable nitrile gloves offer over other types, such as vinyl or latex gloves?
Acrylonitrile butadiene rubber, better known as nitrile rubber or simply nitrile, is a 100% synthetic rubber notable for its unusually high chemical resistance. The original purpose of nitrile was in the aeronautical industry, as the primary material of seals, grommets, and O-rings in fuel handling equipment, such as hoses and tanks.
Other industries realized this synthetic rubber’s properties made an ideal disposable glove material. The higher chemical resistance means nitrile gloves don’t degrade as quickly as latex gloves when exposed to oils, chemicals, acids, or bodily fluids.
Nitrile gloves offer numerous advantages over their latex counterparts.
Although nitrile isn’t as flexible as natural rubber – nitrile gloves don’t grant as much dexterity as latex gloves – it is approximately 3 to 5 times more puncture resistant than latex, enabling you to wear the gloves for longer if necessary.
These properties also protect your hands from exposure to blood-borne pathogens, making them an excellent choice in medical and healthcare environments where they may be known as exam gloves or surgical gloves.
Besides its high chemical and puncture resistance, the primary advantage of nitrile as a disposable glove material is its comfortable fit and its 100% latex-free construction.
These pairs of gloves can be comfortably worn for extended periods, even by personnel with a latex allergy.
In rare cases, specific individuals may experience allergic reactions when wearing nitrile gloves. The most common symptom is allergic contact dermatitis, a Type IV hypersensitivity reaction, typically caused by allergenic additives, such as glove powder (designed to absorb sweat moisture and make donning and doffing easier) or sulfur-based accelerants (intended to increase the gloves’ elasticity).
Although these symptoms are much milder and less dangerous than a typical later allergy, you can prevent these issues by choosing powder-free and accelerator-free nitrile glove models.
Nitrile gloves are available in various cuff lengths suitable for various applications. Standard short-cuff gloves are suitable for general use and most applications.
For long-term surgical applications (more than 20 minutes) or any situations with a high risk of blood projection, long-cuffed models (8” to 12” in length) provide pathogen protection from the fingertips to the forearms.
Although the traditional color for nitrile gloves is blue, they are available in many colors: Dark blue, white, black, orange, purple, and more. The color of a pair of nitrile gloves has no impact on its performance and is purely aesthetic.
Many organizations color-code gloves, assigning one color to a specific task or department. For example, a hospital may use blue for general applications, purple for specific surgeries, and black for non-healthcare work.
There are two types of nitrile gloves: Industrial-grade and medical-grade sometimes called exam-grade or exam gloves. The grade of a pair of gloves determines its versatility and range of recommended applications.
Industrial-grade refers to nitrile gloves built according to the material’s original, chemically resistant properties. They are suitable for many applications, such as the automotive industry, foodservice, solvent production, tattoo shops, janitorial work, and even home sanitation.
However, they are not recommended for healthcare environments, as they may or may not meet the FDA requirements for healthcare safety.
To pass the FDA’s medical-grade certifications, a specific brand of nitrile gloves must pass blood-borne pathogen penetration resistance tests and not possess additives unsuitable for surgeries or medical exams (e.g., glove powder). They are otherwise identical to industrial-grade gloves and can be used safely in any application.
ICU Production, Inc. is a California-based personal protective equipment (PPE) supplier, including disposable nitrile gloves, 3-ply face masks, medical gowns, and more.
We thoroughly test and develop our PPE according to all relevant American standards, as defined by ANSI, AAMI, the FDA, and the CDC. For more information about our products, browse our online catalog or call us at (323) 881-3279
Vinyl gloves are a popular and widely available alternative to gloves made of natural rubbers, such as disposable latex gloves. This 100% synthetic rubber is latex-free and ideal for preventing allergic reactions commonly associated with wearing natural rubber products.
Vinyl is the short name of a material called Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), a well-known petroleum-based plastic polymer.
This material is the same type as the one used to make hard plastic parts, such as PVC piping. The only difference between a vinyl glove and a PVC pipe is the presence of a plasticizer, which makes the material soft and flexible enough to be turned into a glove.
Like nitrile, PVC is a 100% synthetic material, unlike latex, which can be natural or synthetic. PVC is an inexpensive material, costing much less to produce than nitrile and vinyl gloves. The main advantage of PVC is its latex-free composition, preventing the wearer from experiencing the harmful symptoms of latex allergies.
The tradeoff for the cost-effectiveness of vinyl is its moderate durability. It has only a moderate chemical resistance and less puncture resistance than latex and nitrile, making it suitable only for low-risk applications and tasks, such as foodservice, janitorial and sanitary work, or first-aid training.
Vinyl is also notable for being anti-static, making it a popular choice for handling electronics and computer equipment.
The manufacturing process of a vinyl glove is similar to other types of gloves made of synthetic rubbers.
First, PVC must be produced at a polymer production facility through the polymerization of vinyl chloride monomers. The raw PVC material then receives a plasticizer, making it soft and pliable before being sent to a glove production facility.
Once prepared, the plasticized PVC follows roughly the same manufacturing process as a standard latex glove:
The treatment processes are as follows:
Once manufactured, vinyl gloves must pass Quality Control (QC). The QC test for disposable gloves is ASTM D4647 / D4647M, colloquially known as the pinhole leak test.
The testing process involves filling a batch of gloves with one liter of water, hanging them upside down for two minutes, and counting the number of failures (gloves leaking water).
Exam gloves must pass more stringent standards than industrial-grade gloves. If too many gloves fail, the entire batch is discarded. Otherwise, the gloves move on to packaging, shipping, and finally, retail.
ICU Production, Inc. is a trusted personal protective equipment supplier based in California. We have over a decade of experience testing, producing, and outfitting clients worldwide with high-quality PPE, including vinyl gloves, face masks, medical gowns, and more. For more information about our products, call us at (323) 881-3279.
Although latex is one of the most widely available disposable glove types on the market, people who are highly sensitive to latex gloves may develop an adverse reaction to latex. They can range from benign reactions like skin irritation and rashes to life-threatening ones such as shortness of breath and shock.
Vinyl is one of the many possible latex-free alternative materials for disposable gloves. However, is it safe? Is it possible to develop an allergic reaction to vinyl gloves? What are the effects of vinyl glove allergies?
Vinyl is short for Polyvinyl Chloride, or PVC, one of the most common plastic polymers in the world. Unlike latex, which can be natural (rubber tree sap) or synthetic, vinyl is a 100% synthetic material. In other words, all vinyl gloves are synthetic gloves.
Gloves made of PVC are waterproof and moderately resistant to many other fluids, such as blood, dyes, detergents, and chemical compounds, though not as much as medical-grade gloves made of different materials.
Vinyl is also very inexpensive to produce, resulting in a lower price tag than disposable gloves made of other materials.
There are three main types of glove reactions: Type I hypersensitivity (immediate), Type IV hypersensitivity (delayed), and irritation.
According to a 2016 study, approximately 4.3% of the general population and about 9.7% of healthcare workers wearing disposable medical gloves experience latex allergies.
People who have latex allergies can experience any of the three types of glove reactions. Therefore, they must use gloves made of alternative materials to reduce the risk of life-threatening conditions.
Although vinyl glove allergies exist, they are extremely rare, and the effects are comparatively very mild; there are few recorded cases, virtually all of which cause Type IV reactions. The reactions usually come from contact with glove powder or sulfur-based chemical accelerants instead of the PVC material.
It is critical not to confuse irritation or symptoms caused by glove tearing, damaging, or failing to protect the wearer’s hands adequately with allergic effects. All disposable gloves are prone to tearing to some degree, and direct exposure to specific substances and chemical compounds can cause effects similar to irritation or hypersensitivity.
Many glove manufacturers offer vinyl gloves with no additives to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction, such as powder-free gloves and sulfur-based accelerator-free gloves. If you develop contact urticaria, consider switching to a vinyl glove with higher breathability or changing gloves and washing your hands more frequently.
Even though vinyl is an excellent alternative material to latex, vinyl gloves are not without their drawbacks.
The primary reason for using latex is due to that material’s durability, high degree of dexterity and touch sensitivity, and resistance to various fluids and chemicals.
Compared to latex, vinyl is less durable, less sensitive, and more prone to tearing and breaking down.
If neither is an option for you, nitrile may be the best compromise between the durability of latex gloves and the safety of vinyl material. Like vinyl, nitrile is a 100% synthetic and latex-free material.
Nitrile gloves offer more protection to wearers than vinyl gloves due to their higher durability, tear resistance, and chemical exposure resistance.
Like vinyl, nitrile gloves are available with and without powder and sulfur-based accelerants, capable of causing the same rare Type IV reactions. Always ensure that sensitive personnel has access to powder-free and accelerant-free alternatives.
ICU Production, Inc. is an industry-leading personal protective equipment (PPE) provider. We offer a wide range of equipment necessary for healthcare professionals, from surgical masks and face shields to medical gowns and disposable gloves.
Our clients include Fortune 500 corporations, local institutions, and even government organizations. For more information about our PPE, call us at (323) 881-3279.