Disposable gloves are important personal protective equipment (PPE) used in practically all industries, from the medical field to the automotive industry. They help prevent contamination, the transmission of harmful pathogens and protect the wearer from exposure to potentially dangerous materials. Gloves are made from different materials, with nitrile, vinyl, and latex being the most common.
Traditionally, latex gloves were most popular because of tactile hand dexterity and cost-effectiveness. However, due to the prevalence of latex allergies, alternative materials had to be used. Nitrile gloves had less elasticity and were more expensive to produce than latex, but advancements in manufacturing have increased their performance and made them more affordable in recent years. Nitrile gloves are now more chemical resistant, puncture-resistant, and durable than other materials while being cost-effective.
Nitrile gloves come in many colors. While black nitrile gloves are the most popular shade in many industries today, the color doesn’t affect the glove’s quality or level of protection. The chosen color is more likely an industry preference or for color coding within the workplace.
Features of a Nitrile Glove
Nitrile is a type of synthetic copolymer that’s created when acrylonitrile and butadiene are combined. When nitrile gloves were first produced in the 1990s, this combining process made them very expensive compared to latex. This process is now more cost-effective through technology, putting nitrile and latex gloves on par in terms of price.
Nitrile is a hypoallergenic material, meaning allergic reactions to the material are rare. This makes nitrile particularly useful for making medical gloves as there is less need to check for allergy information in time-sensitive, emergency medical scenarios.
One of the main benefits of nitrile over other materials is its puncture and chemical resistance. Although it is penetrable, it is more durable than vinyl and latex, making it an ideal material for handling surgical equipment and dealing with corrosive chemicals. Nitrile gloves are used frequently in emergency rooms. However, it’s crucial to inspect gloves before use to make sure there is no existing damage.
Types of Nitrile Gloves
There are two main types of nitrile gloves, and they are designed for use in different environments:
Industrial Grade Nitrile Gloves
Industrial grade nitrile gloves are designed for protecting the wearers from abrasive chemicals and solvents. These are most frequently found in the automotive industry, cleaning occupations, and tattoo shops. Many workers in these positions wear black nitrile gloves as they look professional and are more stain-resistant than other colors.
Medical Grade Nitrile Gloves
In medical environments, nitrile gloves must meet specific standards to ensure the safety of medical professionals, patients, and visitors. Medical grade gloves are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These gloves are found predominantly in hospitals, dental surgeries, medical facilities, and laboratories.
Nitrile gloves used in some industries have a powder coating inside to make them easier to put on and enhance the grip and feel. Such materials are not suitable for medical environments, so these gloves are usually powder-free.
The Significance of Nitrile Glove Color
The chosen color of nitrile gloves essentially comes down to personal or industry preference. However, black gloves are often intentionally chosen for key reasons. For example, law enforcement offices tend to wear black nitrile gloves when arriving at emergencies to differentiate themselves from medical responders.
Harmful or suspicious substances may be easier to spot while wearing black gloves. Mail handlers and postal workers wear black gloves to help them recognize hazardous powders and materials.
Automotive professionals and tattoo artists prefer black-colored nitrile gloves to mask stains and maintain a professional appearance in front of clients. Blood, oil, grease, and other stains are less obvious on a darker-colored glove.
Color coding is an important PPE management tactic that helps prevent disease transmission, contamination, and misuse. In certain professional environments, gloves are color-coded for specific task use. This allows workers to use the right equipment for certain jobs, reducing the chances of causing an accidental safety hazard. For example, black nitrile gloves may be used specifically for handling certain types of food in a factory.
Choosing the Right Gloves with ICU Production Inc.
ICU Production Inc. is an FDA-approved supplier of PPE. We are proud to provide a range of quality equipment for use in various industries, including medical, retail, and manufacturing. We stock different types of gloves across varying levels of protection, including nitrile, latex, vinyl, and nitrile-vinyl blend.