Gloves are an essential form of personal protective equipment (PPE) that helps prevent cross-contamination. Choosing the right disposable gloves is an essential safety measure to protect healthcare workers and their patients and other employees who regularly face exposure to hazardous materials.
When considering the various options, it may be difficult to know what gloves are most suited to your needs. While nitrile gloves may be the perfect choice for an organization in the chemical or electronics industries, cheaper vinyl options are often more popular for food handling as they are worn and disposed of frequently.
The key to finding the ideal gloves is knowledge. Being familiar with the different types and terms allows you to understand better what you need. This guide breaks down the most important disposable PPE gloves and explains their pros and cons.
Medical Exam-Grade Gloves
The FDA approves medical-grade gloves. These are personal protective equipment (PPE) used during medical procedures or examinations to protect the wearer and patient from the potential spread of infection, bacteria, or disease. They play a significant role in the overall infection-control strategy of medical institutions.
There are several different types of medical gloves. They are all disposable, and some are specialist pieces of equipment designed for use in unique medical situations. For example, there are medical exam-grade gloves, surgical gloves, and gloves made for handling medical agents, such as chemotherapy materials.
Medical gloves are regarded as FDA Class I medical devices. They require a 510(k) premarket notification before they can be legally marketed. The FDA examines medical gloves to make sure they meet particular criteria, such as tear and leak resistance.
Medical professionals are trained to use PPE properly. Medical gloves should never be reused, washed, disinfected, or shared. It’s also important to know that some people are allergic to medical glove materials, like latex. Medical workers should ensure their patients aren’t allergic to the glove material before making contact with the skin.
USDA Guided Gloves
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) outlines the recommendations and requirements for gloves for the safe handling of food-based goods. The exact requirements differ from state to state, but the FDA must also accept the gloves. However, they don’t have the same approval process as medical gloves.
The most critical aspects of USDA-guided goods are that they are sanitary and impermeable. This ensures that the gloves prevent bacteria and virus permeation, keeping food clean and safe.
Latex is one of the most common materials used to make disposable gloves. Latex gloves are used in various industries, including the medical and food industries. They effectively stand up to acetones, ketones, and thinners, meaning they are resistant to industrial and medical-based chemicals that workers frequently come into contact with.
To avoid allergic reactions or sensitivity to latex, these gloves are altered to lower the levels of natural rubber latex (NRL) proteins. The FDA allows latex glove producers to reduce these levels to 50 micrograms of water-extractable latex protein per gram.
Powdered gloves are made using cornstarch, making them easier to put on. They are a popular choice in the healthcare and food industries for this reason.
The presence of powder helps reduce sweat and stops the gloves from sticking together. This type of glove is available in several materials, including latex, vinyl, and nitrile.
Powder-free gloves are developed from latex. They are subject to a process called chlorination, which dries out the glove and removes the powder and residue from the latex proteins. This makes them less tight, meaning powder isn’t necessary to apply and remove the glove.
Powder-free gloves are generally more expensive than powdered gloves due to the chlorination process. They can be difficult to remove quickly as the grip becomes less firm. Despite this, they are popular in the automotive industry as powder particles are known to cause fisheyes on the finish of cars.
Lightly Powdered Gloves
Some gloves are developed using lower amounts of powder, contributing to application, comfort, and grip ease.
Nitrile gloves are a popular alternative to latex rubber. Nitrile offers similar physical capabilities to latex without allergies. This makes them a prevalent type of glove as it means the wearer doesn’t have to worry about a patient or customer having a reaction. They are a popular choice in tattoo parlors.
Although nitrile isn’t as flexible as latex, it is stronger and up to three times more resistant, making it less susceptible to punctures. While nitrile gloves are not as easy to put on and remove as latex, this shouldn’t be a huge issue unless you are frequently in intense scenarios (e.g., an ER nurse).
One of the main reasons nitrile is catching up to latex in terms of popularity is its pricing. Since latex is made from natural rubber, it often experiences pricing fluctuations. Nitrile is manufactured using artificial materials, meaning its price is more stable.
Vinyl gloves are some of the cheapest non-latex options on the market. They are made from PVC and are disposable. The main problem with vinyl gloves is they are less durable than latex and nitrile alternatives. They also provide limited defense against chemical and hazard exposure, meaning they are best suited to low-infection and low-hazard industries.
Stock Up on PPE Equipment
Today, proper sanitation and PPE are more critical for personal and professional safety than ever before. From protective disposable gloves to face masks, it’s vital to have an adequate protective equipment stock.
Ensure you always buy from a reliable source, like ICU Production Inc. We stock a range of high-quality PPE that undergoes testing to meet FDA and CDC guidelines. We are a leading supplier of gloves and have a range of options, including latex, pure nitrile, and vinyl.