3 Differences Between Nitrile & Latex Gloves

3 Differences Between Nitrile & Latex Gloves

Latex vs Nitrile Gloves

3 Key Differences

Until recently, latex was the go-to material for gloves across many different applications. Now, we have a couple of different choices when it comes to disposable gloves. While latex is still commonly used in some medical applications, nitrile is becoming an increasingly popular choice.

Here, we’ll discuss the differences in features between these two types of disposable glove materials:

1. What They’re Made Of

Did You Know…?

Latex is actually made of organic tree sap.

Sap from rubber tree

It’s no surprise, then, that individuals who are prone to allergies often find themselves irritated by latex. In fact, latex allergies are so common that FDA even issued a recommendation for medical suppliers to label products according to whether or not they contain latex.

Because contact with latex can cause harmful irritations to the user if he or she is allergic to it. Latex gloves are considered to be more inherently dangerous than nitrile.

Latex allergic reaction
Latex allergic reaction

Nitrile is made of inorganic synthetic materials which are considered to be 100% clean. Thus, there are no harmful properties (specifically, allergenic proteins) found within disposable nitrile gloves.

So, if latex allergies are a concern for anyone coming into contact with your disposable gloves, nitrile is the obvious choice.

Nitrile is the perfect choice for latex allergies, medical exams, and food handling.

2. How They Fit

Latex gloves are available in a variety of sizes, so their fit is somewhat customizable. That said, the material is non-conforming. Meaning that regardless of the duration for which it is worn, latex gloves will never fully mold to your hand.

There is no sizing memory feature. As a result, many cleanroom operators and other types of disposable glove wearers find latex to be less than ideal in terms of comfort.

Now:

Let’s say we have a nitrile glove on the other hand (literally and figuratively). It will actually form to the wearer, thanks to its unique memory membrane. Unlike latex.

The result is a more comfortable fit, and with reduced slipping, sticking, or other nuisances typically caused by latex gloves, nitrile may also protect against hand fatigue.

3. Level Of Protection Provided

Nitrile gloves offers superior puncture protection
Nitrile gloves offers superior puncture protection

With a proper fit, latex can be fairly durable. It’s highly resistant against alkalis, acids, ketones, alcohols, and other types of contaminants.

Nitrile is more puncture resistant:

Latex does little to protect the skin in contrast with the puncture resistance achieved by nitrile gloves.

Whereas latex can rupture when used too roughly or by snagging on a piece of equipment. Nitrile is more durable and thus achieves a higher level of barrier protection.

In applications where operator safety could be a concern, nitrile is a top-notch choice.

As you can see, nitrile tends to outperform latex in many key areas.

Latex gloves are still an affordable and feasible option for some applications, including certain industrial settings.

Yet, for applications in which users may come into contact with puncture risks or harsh chemicals, opting for nitrile’s added protection will provide greater peace of mind. And it’s also a necessary step if you have employees with latex allergies.

Browse and learn about all of options of latex gloves and nitrile disposable gloves in our store.

Get a Hand with Chemical-Resistant Gloves

Get a Hand with Chemical-Resistant Gloves
Chemical Resistant 18 mil Yellow Latex Gloves
Chemical Resistant 18 mil Yellow Latex Gloves

You don’t need to get an A in Chemistry Class to understand that there are tons of kinds of chemicals in the world. Over 60 million kinds of chemicals are registered with Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) system. From these, about 80,000 are subject to utilization by various industries.

The Chemistry of Chemicals

Chemicals simply co-exist with many industrial operations today. Whether in manufacturing, automotive and electronic production, pharmaceutical, medical, and chemical laboratories, and even in agricultural industries, these chemicals are essential for daily process and are proven to be beneficial for the business.
It is said that ‘with great power comes great responsibility’, the saying is also true with chemicals. Handling these powerful elements certainly require a great amount of accountability. Why? Because there are certain chemicals that are corrosive or can cause visible destruction or permanent changes in human skin tissue at the site of contact. These substances can cause harm if not handled correctly.

Why Use Chemical Resistant Gloves?

Chemical Resistant 13" Green Nitrile Gloves
Chemical Resistant 13″ Green Nitrile Gloves

Ideal uses for chemical resistant gloves include food processing, automotive, metal fabrication, scientific research, and other areas of industry.Because you are handling powerful elements, wearing chemical-resistant gloves is one great way to demonstrate responsible chemical management and protect yourself, and your employees. Think of chemical-resistant gloves as Batman’s costume whenever you’re wearing it. Wearing protective gear helps to protect workers from injuries and helps save money and bad reports from accidents. Now that’s super!

Characteristics of Good Chemical Resistant Gloves

Chemical Resistant Neoprene Coated Latex Gloves
Chemical Resistant Neoprene Coated Latex Gloves

It is important that you opt for chemical-resistant gloves that have these essential attributes:

Comfort

This is probably one of the first things that workers would consider as to whether or not they would wear chemical-resistant gloves. The level of comfort in wearing gloves can really affect how long one can bear to wear it. If the gloves offer poor level of comfort, workers are likely to remove them even if it means working with no protection at all. So make sure you invest in gloves that offer high levels of comfort. Besides, a ‘comfortable’ worker is more productive than one that is not.

Performance

Questions that you need to ask when opting for chemical-resistant gloves are ‘Is it making handling too slippery? Is it slowing down the hands’ mobility? Does wearing it make it more or less difficult to do the job?’ Even if the gloves offer comfort but still fail to give high level of performance, it would still not be as helpful as it ought to be.

Protection

Chemical Resistant 12" Smooth Finish PVC Coated Glove
Chemical Resistant 12″ Smooth Finish PVC Coated Glove

Finally, consider the gloves’ level of protection when handling corrosive chemicals. The very reason why chemical handlers are required to wear chemical-resistant gloves is to protect them upon contact with the substances. This is why it is essential that you choose the kind of gloves with a high level of protection against chemical contact such as acids. Keeping your hands protected from chemical injuries and irritation means wearing the right glove for the job. We offer chemical resistant gloves that can be used for any work application, from cleanup to directly handling harsh and hazardous liquids. Keep workers’ hands safe while providing dexterity and comfort needed to improve productivity.

Hand Injuries & Prevention

Hand Injuries & Prevention

How to Prevent Hand Injuries

cut hazard, cut resistant gloves

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reports that hand injuries are the second most work-related injury, resulting in over a million emergency room visits in a year. Hand injuries can range from simple to very serious, taking its toll not only on a workers’ well-being but also on the company’s reputation.

Some examples of the most common types of hand injuries:

Cut Resistant Gloves
Lacerations (63%)

Skin cuts or lacerations have the highest occurrence of traumatic hand injuries in the workplace due to the use of cutting tools such as knives, razors and power tools. The damage due from a laceration can range from a simple skin cut to more serious injuries such as severed nerves, tendons and even limbs.

Crush Injuries (13%)

High pressured machines and other tools used to pound, squeeze, or pulverize objects in the workplace can cause accidental crush injuries to the hands. This type of hand injury results in seriously fractured bones, which could also affect nerves, leading to temporary or permanent paralysis.

Punctures (6%)

Hand puncture injury can be caused by using sharp and pointed tools such as knives, wires and nails. It can cause serious damage to a nerve or bone and even cause infection if left untreated.

Prevent Hand Injuries: What to do?

Cut Resistant Gloves

Workers who are exposed to the use of machinery and mechanisms on a daily basis are susceptible to hand injuries. This is why it is essential to minimize the occurrence or damage caused by on-the-job hazards.

Wear the Right Hand Protection

Cut Resistant Gloves
Wearing protective gear can lessen the risk of getting your hands injured. All you have to do is to select the proper type of gloves according to specific needs.

 
If you are working in a construction industry, opt for gloves that are made with leathers (leather work gloves) or polymers which can protect your hands from abrasive materials such as wood or metal splinters.

 
If you are handling chemicals, it is best to opt for chemical resistant gloves to avoid direct contact. These special gloves are usually made of latex, nitrile, neoprene, polyvinyl-chloride, or other polymer materials that can resist corrosive chemical substances.

 
If you use knives or are concerned about lacerations using a cut-resistant glove may prevent cuts. There are different materials these gloves are made of, but the most common would use Kevlar. There are also different ratings of cut-resistant gloves. The higher the rating the more protection you are afforded.

Commit to a Safety Program

Since workplace injuries and accidents among employees can be very costly, it is crucial for employers to ensure the health and safety of their workforce.

 
Thus, safety programs must be initiated by companies since most employees have very minimal awareness about why such training is vital, e.g. proper wear and care of hand protections.

 
Not only will it educate employees about working safely but it will also help prevent injuries in the workplace.

Disposable Gloves 101

Disposable Gloves 101

The Gist on Disposable Gloves

Disposable gloves keep your hands and environment safe from contaminants, chemicals, and other dangers. Disposable gloves are used for hand protection in medical, forensic, scientific, automotive, food service, cleaning, and industrial applications. Single-use gloves come in a variety of materials and are used in industries worldwide.

Uses for Disposable Gloves

Medical Gloves

Disposable gloves are used in medical examinations and procedures to create a safety barrier that helps to prevent cross-contamination. This keeps medical personnel /caregivers and patients safe. Un-powdered gloves (which are covered below) are used more often during surgery to prevent contaminates. Medical and examination gloves are usually of higher quality materials and thickness to prevent tearing and punctures during procedures.

Food Gloves

If you’re handling or preparing food, disposable food gloves are a necessity. Food gloves ensure your food and employees stay clean and sanitary and provide a barrier against germs. Single-use food gloves are conveniently disposable so you can just throw them away after use. Latex-alternative disposable gloves (such as nitrile or vinyl) or often used in food handling due to possible latex allergies.  The most popular food handling glove is made from Polyethylene. These low cost gloves are perfect when you need to change gloves often and need light protection.

General Purpose Disposable Gloves

General Purpose Disposable Gloves are just that. Used in many industries and shops to keep hands clean and protect against chemicals and more. General purpose disposable gloves are available in latex, nitrile, chloroprene, and vinyl. Each material has unique features (covered below). Use general purpose disposable gloves for light duty cleaning, painting, maintenance work and more.

Disposable Glove Materials

Latex Gloves

Durable latex gloves are great for a variety of uses across medical and industrial applications. Latex gloves come in a variety of sizes, with powdered and powder-free options. Powder helps with easy donning of the gloves.

Latex gloves are more elastic than nitrile and more puncture resistance than vinyl. Latex gloves naturally offer excellent chemical resistance.  Using latex gloves is not recommended if you have a latex allergy.

Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile is a synthetic version of latex. Nitrile disposable gloves have higher puncture and chemical resistance than other materials. Nitrile offers great protection against punctures, cuts, and snags. Nitrile gloves are often used in medical applications and procedures for these reasons.

Vinyl Gloves

Vinyl disposable gloves are a good alternative for those allergic to latex gloves or dislike other types of gloves. Great for single-use applications.  Exam Grade Vinyl Gloves are ideal for protection in a wide range of medical applications. Food Service Vinyl Gloves are often used in catering, food handling, and food prep. Vinyl gloves are available with or without powder for easier donning.

Polyethylene Gloves

The lowest cost and least protective type of disposable gloves are polyethylene gloves. These are ideal however for food handling, catering, and other food industry related applications. Polyethylene single use gloves keep your hands clean and offer basic contamination protection.

Do You Need Sterile Disposable Gloves?

Medical and Exam Disposable Gloves are available in sterile options. Sterile gloves are also used in cleanrooms and controlled environments. If you are doing work where any possible type of contamination is a worry, opt for sterile gloves. Sterile gloves are sterilized and come in sealed packaging to maintain freshness and sterility.

Powdered Disposable Gloves

Disposable gloves are made of different polymers including latex, nitrile, and vinyl. They come un-powdered, or powdered to lubricate the gloves, making them easier to put on the hands. Again, if contaminates are a concern, opt for powder-free disposable gloves. However, for other applications, powder makes the gloves much easier to wear and change out.

If you have any questions or can’t quite decide what type of glove you, please give us a call and we’ll be glad to assist you in your selection!