What Are Nitrile Gloves? | Primo Dental Products

The COVID-19 has increased demand for disposable gloves across the globe. With many industries adopting disposable gloves for their workers, it is important to understand the differences in disposable gloves types. All disposable gloves have their pros and cons and it is important in making a decision behind a glove type.

Large Medline SensiCare Silk Nitrile Gloves - 250/box available for $39.99

What Are Nitrile Gloves?

The most popular disposable glove today is made of nitrile. Nitrile is a synthetic rubber that is highly resilient. Nitrile rubber is more resistant than natural rubber to oils and acids as well as more puncture resistant than natural rubber gloves. However these benefits come at the expense of flexibility. While most professionals prefer the puncture strength and resiliency of nitrile gloves, professionals who require precise tactile feel will sometimes choose a different type of disposable glove. Because nitrile is a synthetic rubber, there are less cases of allergic reactions with these gloves vs. latex. The strength of nitrile in addition to less allergic reactions have made nitrile gloves the standard for most professionals in medical, dental, beauty and foodservices.

The increased demand in nitrile gloves have led to significant price increases across the world throughout the value chain. Malaysia is the largest manufacturer of disposable gloves in the world. These factories have been designed to run close to 100% capacity at all times. With the increased demand in gloves, expected to increase by at least 2x by 2026, factories simply cannot keep up with demand. The short term solution is to run their factories 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Even with this drastic increase in production, it only provides a little relief in shortage supplies. Until nitrile glove demand subsides or new production comes online, nitrile shortages and price increases will continue.

What Are Latex Gloves?

Latex gloves are made of natural rubber latex found in the sap of rubber trees. This latex is then processed and made into latex gloves. Latex benefits from having chemical resistance against most acids, bases, chlorine, iodine and formaldehyde. It has been historically the industry standard for disposable gloves. Most people prefer the fit of latex gloves as it closely conforms to a person’s hand providing a great fit and feel. Dental professionals prefer latex because the tactile feel to use small objects such as scalpels, tooth caps and tooth polish. For a small portion of the population, latex can cause an allergic reaction. This occurs when the proteins found in latex gloves are seen as a harmful substance by the body. As the body tries to fight this off, the wearer can surfer symptoms ranging from minor skin irritation to life-threatening shock. Potential concerns around latex allergies have shifted the industry to adopt nitrile gloves, which do not suffer from allergic reactions.

The Best Nitrile Glove For Most People

If you decide to go with a nitrile glove, we recommend the Medline SensiCare Silk Nitrile Gloves. These dark blue powder-free large nitrile gloves have a soft and comfortable feel while providing outstanding tactile sensitivity for touch perception. It meets both ASTM D6978-05 and USP 800 Personal Protection Equipment requirements for use of chemotherapy gloves when handling hazardous drugs. Each box also includes a Smartguard protective film barrier over the box opening that helps reduce excess gloves from coming out when grabbing a pair of gloves resulting in less waste.

Are Nitrile Gloves Latex Free?

Nitrile gloves are latex free. Latex gloves are made of naturally producing rubber materials in trees found in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, including Southeast Asia, particularly in Malaysia. This natural latex rubber is found in a variety of products including latex gloves, latex condoms and even latex clothing. Latex is known to cause an allergic reaction in a subset of the general population due to adverse reactions to proteins found in natural rubber latex. The symptoms can range from something as mild as skin irritation to as dangerous as life-threatening shock.

Because of this potential allergic reaction, it is recommended to use nitrile gloves in a professional setting. Nitrile gloves are made of synthetic materials, acrylonitrile and butadiene. It is extremely rare to be allergic to nitrile and is recommended in all cases as an alternative to latex gloves.

Are Nitrile Gloves Food Safe?

It is recommended to only use nitrile gloves marked as food safe when handling food. While some glove manufacturers market their gloves as food grade nitrile gloves, there is no formal criteria or certification to be labeled as food grade or safe for food handling. The only general guidelines around food grade gloves are that glove materials are substances that have been recognized as safe for use in food or food packaging. Because of the additional FDA certifications that surgical gloves must go through, these are the best types of gloves to use for food service. The AQL certification surgical gloves must go through means that you expect less defects and ensures a level of consistency in your gloves.

Can You Wash Nitrile Gloves?

Most Nitrile exam gloves are designed and manufactured for one-time, single use. These nitrile gloves are usually labeled as disposable nitrile gloves. While not as common, there are reusable nitrile gloves available. These gloves will be clearly marked reusable on the packaging. These reusable nitrile gloves are usually sold as a set and each pair is wrapped individually. These reusable nitrile gloves tend to be thicker and will not provide the same level of tactile feel as disposable nitrile gloves.

Do Nitrile Gloves Protect Against Viruses?

According to the CDC, nitrile gloves are not recommended for use outside of medical situations. Because COVID-19 is a respiratory virus spread primarily through droplets, it is more important to continue to follow social distance rules (standing 6 feet away from others), washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and practicing common sense preventative actions.

Nitrile gloves are recommended when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces of someone who is sick. Disposable gloves should always be used when there is a potential for contact with blood, stool, or body fluids, such as saliva, mucus, vomit, and urine. These nitrile gloves are designed as one time use and should be disposed of after every use. It is also recommended to wash your hands after removing and safely disposing nitrile gloves in the trash.

How Are Nitrile Gloves Made?

Nitrile gloves are made using a multi step process in factories specifically designed to manufacture nitrile gloves. 

  1. It begins with the mixing and compounding of chemicals that make up nitrile gloves. It is important that trained chemists are handling this to ensure that the final product will be a perfect nitrile glove.
  2. Once the chemical compounds have been measured, the chemicals are then mixed together using a variable speed intensive mixer and homogenizer.
  3. Before the compounds are extruded onto the hand formers, these porcelain formers must be cleaned with acid solutions and cleaning agents to ensure a smooth and clean surface for the compounds to bind onto.
  4. These cleaned hand formers are designed dipped into the compound for a controlled period of time as the compound settles onto the hand formers.
  5. Protein removal now takes place when additives are removed through hot leaching using an intensive hot water wash followed by heat drying. 
  6. Hypoallergenic compound is added to the inner side of the glove that comes in contact with the user.
  7. Gloves are then beaded on the end of the glove to provide grip during the donning of gloves and to prevent rolling up.
  8. Nitrile gloves are then put into a large specialty oven to cure.
  9. After gloves have completed their curing they are tested both visually and chemically. This is followed by leak testing every glove to ensure that there are no holes in the gloves.
  10. This is followed by additional chlorination treatment to remove the need for powder in addition to lowering the protein levels.
  11. Gloves are then packaged using high speed packaging machines that ensure the correct number of gloves goes in each box. Once this is completed, these finished boxes are then put into larger cartons and further packaged onto pallets as they wait for pickup to their final end user markets.

Are Nitrile Gloves Biodegradable?

Nitrile gloves are made up of synthetic rubber compounds and are not biodegradable. Nitrile gloves will take decades before they will break down. While there has been some work done on biodegradable disposable nitrile gloves, almost all of the disposable nitrile gloves available are not biodegradable. After use, nitrile exam gloves should be disposed of in the garbage. These gloves should not and cannot be recycled.

Where To Buy Nitrile Gloves?

Primo Dental Products is a trusted manufacturer and distributor of nitrile exam gloves. We offer a variety of popular brands including BeeSure, Cranberry, Medline and many more. We are also a manufacturer of our own branded nitrile gloves which have been highly rated by dental professionals and regular consumers alike. We carry only the highest quality nitrile glove brands on our store and we proudly ship exclusively from our New Jersey warehouse via Fedex.

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