Here's an interesting statistic from the Health Research Funding Organization—did you know that 17% of healthcare providers are allergic to latex? In the general population, only 1% of people have latex allergies.
Because they are always exposed to latex, specifically latex gloves, healthcare workers are 17 times more likely to have latex allergies as compared to the general population.
People can develop a latex allergy at any period of their lives. Here's another interesting, yet troubling fact—people who undergo surgery where the surgeon uses latex gloves have a higher risk of developing a latex allergy after their procedure as compared to before the procedure was completed.
Repeated exposure to latex, frequent surgical procedures, and a history of allergies make people more at risk of developing a latex allergy, even in the later years of their life. Latex allergies can result in mild to severe reactions.
For some it's just a minor skin irritation or rash, for others it can be a combination of hives, swelling, and a runny nose, and—in worst-case scenarios—anaphylactic shock. On average, 10 people die each year due to severe latex allergy reactions.
This is why there has been such a huge push in the medical field for more latex-free products, particularly gloves, to avoid the possible risks that latex allergies pose—not only to the healthcare workers themselves but especially to their patients.
Luckily, manufacturers have found a safer alternative to latex gloves, a synthetic glove made from nitrile. But are nitrile gloves latex-free? And do they really not cause allergies? We'll take a deep dive on this subject today to help you understand.
What Are Nitrile Gloves?
Nitrile gloves are made from a synthetic rubber called nitrile butadiene rubber or NBR. The nitrile material is said to be very resistant to tears, punctures, oils, and various chemical substances. It is one of the most used types of gloves by medical workers, surgeons, dentists, aestheticians, tattoo artists, and so on.
Are Nitrile Gloves Latex Free?
Short answer: Yes.
Nitrile butadiene rubber is technically considered a type of latex. But, with a key difference compared to traditional latex. This version doesn't contain any of the proteins in real latex gloves that cause allergic reactions.
The material used in actual latex gloves is taken from the rubber tree and is also known as natural rubber. Natural rubber latex gloves contain latex proteins that cause allergic reactions.
Because nitrile gloves are made from completely synthetic rubber, they has zero latex proteins in them. This is why nitrile gloves are considered latex-free. And thus, this is why they're the best alternative for people who have sensitivities or allergies to latex.
Are Nitrile Gloves Powder Free?
In case you didn't know, the FDA has banned the use of powdered gloves. The powder is usually placed inside disposable gloves to lubricate them and make them easier to put on. However, the FDA has deemed the powder dangerous. Studies have shown that it may also cause allergic reactions if used in latex gloves.
The FDA cautioned the public that if the powder from the gloves becomes airborne it might carry the latex protein from the latex gloves. The powder can come into contact with more people much easier leading to more latex sensitivities. In worse cases, the powder can even be inhaled. Anaphylaxis and severe asthmatic reactions are caused by inhaling latex proteins in the air.
At first, it was only powdered latex gloves that were the problem. The FDA even said that powdered synthetic gloves, such as nitrile gloves, are fine. They thought that since it doesn't contain latex proteins there was no risk for allergic reactions.
But, later on, they also discovered that the powder from surgical gloves caused wound inflammation and post-surgical adhesions. These are bands of fibrous scar tissue that form between internal organs and tissues. This is what pushed the FDA to ban powdered gloves altogether.
Always read glove labels & descriptions
The FDA has put a ban on powdered disposable gloves. But, that hasn't stopped certain people from selling and using them in their practices. If you're concerned about whether nitrile gloves are powder-free, don't worry. You'll be glad to know that a majority of nitrile gloves being sold today are not just latex-free but powder-free as well.
But keep in mind that although the majority use powder-free nitrile gloves, you might stumble upon a few stores selling powdered varieties. This is why you should always read product descriptions before buying them. Certified powder-free nitrile gloves will have a powder-free label on them.
How Well Does Nitrile Compare To Other Types of Gloves?
There are three types of disposable gloves being used today: nitrile gloves, latex gloves, and vinyl gloves. Nitrile gloves are the most expensive of the three, and you'll soon discover why.
We will be comparing nitrile gloves to the other types of examination gloves available. This way, you can have a better idea of which type of glove you should be using.
Latex Gloves vs Nitrile Gloves
Latex gloves are more affordable than nitrile gloves. But, you get what you pay for. Nitrile gloves are far stronger than latex, and as you now know, far safer too. They used to be the most commonly used type of gloves, especially for surgery, due to their durability, excellent fit, and mid-range protection.
If you aren't sensitive or allergic to latex, latex exam gloves can actually be quite comfortable. However, the longer you expose yourself to latex, the more likely you are to develop sensitivities and allergies.
People who are allergic to other foods and items are also more at risk of getting latex allergies. A lot of people advise not to use latex gloves to avoid these unwanted reactions.
Vinyl Gloves vs Nitrile Gloves
Vinyl gloves are the cheapest type of gloves on the market. In fact, they are much cheaper than both nitrile and latex gloves. Similar to nitrile, vinyl gloves are also made from synthetic rubber. But instead of NBR, they're made from polyvinyl chloride. Because they're also made with synthetic rubbers, vinyl gloves are also latex-free and hypoallergenic.
There is one downside to vinyl gloves. If you work in a high-contact industry such as caregiving or other health-related fields, vinyl gloves aren't advised. Although they are the most affordable option, they are also the least durable and provide very limited protection against bacteria, microbes, and chemicals.
Why Nitrile Exam Gloves Are The Best
Nitrile gloves may be the most expensive gloves among the three, but that's only because they are the best quality and safest. They were specifically designed as a latex-free option for use in various health-related fields as well as other high-touch industries that require the use of sterile personal protective equipment or PPE.
So when it comes to durability, tactile sensitivity, and the amount of protection provided (on top of being hypoallergenic), nitrile gloves are the top pick for most practitioners nowadays. They also have a longer shelf-life at 5 years as compared to latex gloves that are only good for 3 years. But where can you find safe, quality nitrile gloves free of latex?
Where Can You Get Latex-Free Nitrile Gloves?
You can find latex-free nitrile gloves in any online PPE store. They come in all colors and sizes and are sold in packs of 100, 200, 250, 300, and so on. But not all stores sell 100% nitrile gloves - which is why we mentioned how important it is to read descriptions and labels.
A lot of stores sell nitrile-vinyl blends to make the price more affordable. But because the nitrile is blended with vinyl, it doesn't provide the same durability or protection that 100% nitrile gloves do.
If you're looking for the best quality nitrile exam gloves that are both latex-free and powder-free, there is only one store you should buy from—Primo Dental Store.
Get Latex-Free Nitrile Gloves (and more) at Primo Dental Store
Here at Primo Dental Store, you can find the highest quality powder-free and latex-free nitrile gloves. They are made from 100% nitrile butadiene rubber so you can get maximum durability and protection while avoiding allergic reactions at the same time.
Our collection of powder and latex-free nitrile exam gloves are not only premium quality, but they are also the most affordable nitrile exam gloves you can find online. This is why customers prefer to buy their nitrile exam gloves from us as compared to any other online medical supply store.
Don't believe us? Just check out the hundreds of 5-star reviews on our website. Our current customers will tell you all about our nitrile exam gloves and our other products too!
If you work in a hospital or a dental clinic, nitrile gloves aren't the only PPE you need. Pair your latex-free gloves with our FDA & NIOSH Certified disposable masks.
Even if you aren't working in a health-related field, with the current rise of COVID-19, you'll need your own PPE to stay safe. Protect yourself and your family from being exposed with our latex-free gloves and disposable masks. Our nitrile gloves come in a variety of sizes and fun colors for the whole family. Choose from light blue, dark blue, purple, black, or orange.
We sell a variety of disposable masks as well, from N95 to surgical masks that come in all kinds of fun designs and colors. If you aren't sure which mask is best for you and your family, we talk about the differences between each mask in our blog.
Buy a pack of latex-free nitrile gloves together with our disposable masks today and stay safe. All orders on our website above $50 get free shipping!