Gloves: Latex vs Nitrile

|August 30, 2021

Thanks to the pandemic, which seems to be very much still a threat around most of the world, a few different kinds of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) have become household items. Things like masks, medical gowns, and gloves have gone up in demand so much that prices have surged to ten, sometimes twenty, times their usual price. 

Second to probably only masks, disposable gloves, once only a garment you’d see at the doctor’s office or in the kitchen of a saucy BBQ restaurant, became the go-to for many who left their home in fear that they’d be forced to touch, push, or pull on a contaminated surface. Gloves flew off the shelf until there was a worldwide shortage, and no one stopped to consider what they’re using to shield their hands, and why. Not all of these gloves of the past 1.5 years are latex, as many people thought. Most, in fact, aren’t. Here’s what you should know about latex gloves, and their competitor, nitrile gloves:

Latex Gloves

Latex gloves had long been the most popular and widely used type in all settings, especially medical. They were very cost-effective, at least until the pandemic hit. The demand for latex greatly exceeded the ability for rubber trees, which are abundant in Southeast Asia, to meet the skyhigh demand. The reason for their popularity was due to their being disposable, comfortable, and flexible, while also offering sufficient protection to users. Of course, their increase in popularity in the latter half of the 20th century is what helped create the need to find an alternative glove, since many people discovered their latex allergy through the use of latex gloves.

Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile gloves came into importance in the 1900s as a latex alternative. Unlike latex, disposable nitrile gloves are more durable and resistant to chemicals. They’re also puncture resistant, and are more widely usable as some people are seriously allergic to latex. Nitrile gloves perfectly suit the needs of the everyday citizen that’s looking to disinfect surfaces with the appropriate chemicals while avoiding contaminating their hands.

Which Are For You?

If you’re a doctor, nurse, healthcare practitioner, or operate in another part of the healthcare or biotech industry, then chances are you didn’t need to read this article to know which type of glove is for you. For everyone else – and we assume the majority who bought and used gloves for personal use at home and in other public places since the pandemic began – nitrile gloves are better suited for you and your needs. 

Not only is this important for functional reasons, but it’s important that we don’t strain the supply of latex gloves, as latex is made from rubber trees, and there are only so many! Without latex gloves, healthcare workers may find it difficult or impossible to do their jobs, and that’s never been more important than now.

 

Check out our latex and nitril gloves here.

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