Considering all the options you can choose from, selecting the best type of disposable gloves for your profession can be a challenge. There are latex gloves, vinyl gloves, and nitrile gloves, all coming in a wide range of sizes & styles. Gloves can also be powdered and non-powdered, which makes a big difference.
Nitrile gloves are highly resistant to punctures, biological agents, and chemical products. They also have a longer shelf life than traditional latex gloves. Considering these advantages, nitrile gloves are often the best choice in healthcare settings where there is constant exposure to sharp tools, chemicals, and biological agents.
But, are all nitrile gloves technically powder-free? And what is the difference between powdered and powder-free disposable gloves?
In this article, we will answer both of these questions and more. Plus, we will tell you where you can find the best powder-free nitrile gloves on the market, so make sure to read until the end!
Powdered gloves contain cornstarch, which prevents them from sticking together and makes them easier to put on. They're useful in fast-paced settings (e.g. food service operations). However, the cornstarch in powdered gloves can cause sensitivities in both users and those who come in contact with the gloves. Cornstarch may also worsen latex allergies.
Furthermore, the powder from powdered gloves has been found to stick to hands, surfaces, and clothing, causing contamination. In the dental industry, this is a major concern since dentists put their hands in patients' mouths, which leads to direct contact with starch. If a patient has an allergy to corn-containing products, they may experience symptoms ranging from mild itching to severe anaphylactic shock.
Powdered gloves are also not considered food-safe since there is direct contact between food and the powder on the gloves during preparation.
FDA Ban on Powdered Gloves
The Food and Drug Administration officially banned powdered gloves in December 2016. Beginning January 19, 2017, the manufacturing, distribution, and sale of powdered medical gloves are no longer allowed. The ban stemmed from strong evidence that powdered gloves cause serious risks to patients, including allergic reactions and wound inflammation.
Today, powdered medical gloves are hard to find. However, it is still important to ensure that the gloves you acquire are powder-free and are therefore carry minimal risk for adverse reactions.
Powder-free gloves do not contain cornstarch. To make them easy to put on and remove, these gloves go through chlorination; a process that makes them less form-fitting. This extra step used to make nitrile gloves significantly more expensive than latex. But with further advancements, nitrile has become just as affordable as latex.
Due to the risk that powdered gloves impose, most disposable gloves in hospitals and other healthcare settings today are powder-free. Many healthcare facilities strictly use powder-free nitrile exam gloves surgeries and other sensitive procedures.
What Are Nitrile Gloves?
Nitrile gloves offer superior resistance to tears, punctures, biological agents, and chemical products. Nitrile is a synthetic copolymer formed through the combination of acrylonitrile and butadiene, containing no natural rubber latex or latex proteins. Due to the absence of latex, nitrile gloves are an excellent alternative to latex gloves, which can trigger latex allergies.
Nitrile gloves are used in many settings, including hospitals, dental clinics, tattoo parlors, restaurants, and so on.
Another great thing about nitrile gloves is that they have longer shelf lives than latex gloves. Compared to latex gloves that last up to 3 years, nitrile gloves have an average shelf life of 5 years. In ideal conditions, nitrile gloves can be stored for up to 10 years. Learn more about the shelf life of nitrile gloves here.
Nitrile Gloves vs. Latex Gloves
Latex gloves are the most commonly used kind of disposable gloves across all industries. The main reason for this is that latex gloves are often more affordable than nitrile and vinyl gloves. Moreover, they are widely available and the easiest to access; most disposable gloves that you can find on store shelves are latex gloves.
But in comparison to nitrile gloves, it is easy to see why nitrile gloves are more suitable for healthcare and foodservice settings. For example, dentists' and doctors' hands come in contact with patients' bodies frequently. Therefore, latex free nitrile gloves must be used to avoid triggering latex allergies.
In food service settings, workers put their gloved hands on food and surfaces, which can transfer latex proteins to food and utensils. Nitrile gloves that are latex-free eliminate this risk since it does not contain any natural latex or latex proteins.
Furthermore, repeated exposure to latex gloves can increase sensitivity. Latex free nitrile gloves are the best at preventing latex sensitivities for users who frequently wear disposable gloves.
Nitrile Gloves Vs. Vinyl Gloves
Vinyl gloves are made from PVC and are inexpensive to manufacture. However, they are less durable than both latex gloves and latex free nitrile gloves, making them less resistant to chemicals and biological agents. That said, vinyl gloves are most suitable for applications that do not involve exposure to infections and chemicals.
Are Nitrile Gloves Powder-Free?
Most medical-grade nitrile gloves are powder-free. Due to the FDA ban, it is difficult to find powdered gloves on the market, let alone powdered nitrile gloves.
However, there are still a few brands of powdered nitrile gloves available. Some are advertised as lightly-powdered. Nevertheless, even the slightest bit of powder can cause a negative reaction upon exposure.
So, to answer the main question of this article: no, not all nitrile gloves are powder-free, but most are.
Latex-free nitrile gloves that are widely available today are mostly non-powdered. To be absolutely sure, check for the 'powder-free' label.
Why is Nitrile The Best Type of Disposable Glove?
When considering the factors that make an ideal disposable glove, nitrile checks all the boxes. Here are the reasons why nitrile is the best type of glove for your profession:
Nitrile gloves are latex free and therefore pose no risk to patients who are sensitive to latex. Most latex free nitrile gloves are also powder-free, which eliminates potential allergic reactions to the powder.
Extremely durable and resistant
Compared to latex and vinyl gloves, nitrile provides the best resistance against physical damage, chemicals, and biological agents. This makes nitrile exam gloves most suitable for environments with a high risk of exposure to chemicals and infectious diseases, such as in operating rooms and dental clinics.
Wide variety of applications
Aside from healthcare settings, nitrile gloves are also recommended for other settings, such as hair salons, tattoo parlors, and makeup studios. Since these gloves are also highly durable, they can also be used for heavier work in auto shops, construction sites, factories, and more.
Disposable gloves take decades to biodegrade, but that doesn't mean you can't reduce your impact on the environment. Nitrile is the only type of glove that most recycling centers accept; vinyl and latex are mostly turned away. So, if you have unused gloves that have gone beyond their shelf life, you can recycle them instead of throwing them away. Learn how you can recycle unused nitrile gloves in our blog.
Find The Best Powder-Free Nitrile Gloves At Primo Dental
Here at Primo Dental, you can find the most durable and highest-quality powder-free nitrile gloves on the market. All of our gloves are FDA-certified, powder-free, and surgical-grade. Better yet, we offer the lowest prices online. We make it easy for you to buy the best nitrile exam gloves without breaking the bank.
For years, professionals from all sorts of industries have made us their go-to PPE online store. Apart from latex free gloves, we offer a wide selection of other PPE, such as face masks, dental bibs, sterilization pouches, and more--all at the right prices.
Shop for PPE at Primo Dental today and enjoy free nationwide shipping on all orders above $50.