Our blue nitrile gloves are the perfect powder free disposable glove for a variety of settings. They’re great exam gloves for medical care, and at ...View full details
Are Nitrile Gloves Latex Free
Whether you’re in the market for medical gloves, industrial gloves, or something in between, many of us encounter the same challenge: latex allergies. Your business can’t afford to risk an allergic reaction in customers or employees.
Unfortunately, disposable latex gloves aren’t the only gloves you need to steer clear of.
Are nitrile gloves latex free? Here’s what you should know before you purchase.
What are Disposable Nitrile Gloves Made Of?
Nitrile is a synthetic copolymer, also known as acrylonitrile-butadiene rubber. A copolymer is simply a material made of two monomer molecules (in this case, acrylonitrile and butadiene) bonded together.
The process involved is chemically complex, especially in comparison to latex, which is a naturally occurring rubber compound found in the rubber tree (and 10% of all plant life, actually). Basically, acrylonitrile and butadiene have to be chemically bonded and stabilized into acrylonitrile-butadiene rubber, which can then be shaped into nitrile gloves.
What’s important here is that on its own, nitrile does not naturally include latex.
Are Nitrile Gloves Latex Free?
When we’re talking about pure nitrile, i.e. the acrylonitrile-butadiene rubber copolymer, nitrile does not include latex or latex derivatives. As such, pure nitrile gloves can be considered latex-free nitrile.
The only time latex would enter the manufacturing process is if the manufacturer wanted to introduce some of the benefits of a latex glove into nitrile.
The biggest benefit is latex’s natural flexibility. While nitrile is the strongest glove material on the market right now, some customers don’t like them because they’re not terribly stretchy and, depending on the glove fit, not always as comfortable as latex. By introducing latex into the mix, the manufacturer can make nitrile gloves stretchier and more comfortable, though they sacrifice some durability and the glove is no longer latex-free nitrile.
Does That Mean All Nitrile Gloves are Latex Free?
On its own, nitrile is naturally latex free. This means that unless the glove is marked as containing latex, a nitrile glove is latex free.
However, this does not apply to all nitrile gloves. Again, some manufacturers put latex in their nitrile material for a more comfortable hybrid glove. At this point, the packaging would clearly indicate that these are not latex-free nitrile gloves.
Are Nitrile Gloves Safe for People with Latex Allergies?
Unless nitrile gloves are marked as hybrid latex gloves, nitrile does not naturally contain latex or the components of latex. As such, nitrile does not cause an allergic reaction in people with latex allergies.
How to Choose Nitrile Gloves
If you’re in the market for latex-free gloves, nitrile is a fantastic choice. Here are a few tips on what to look for before you place an order.
Medical Grade vs. Industrial Grade
The most basic distinction for nitrile gloves is the difference between medical grade nitrile gloves and industrial grade nitrile gloves, since these are the two applications that rely on nitrile disposable gloves the most.
Medical grade gloves are regulated by the FDA as Class I reserved medical devices requiring a 510(k) premarket notification. This essentially says that the gloves are recognized as medically sterile and safe for use in medical procedures where biohazards and cross-contamination are concerns.
Industrial grade gloves are not automatically stronger than medical grade gloves. However, industrial grade gloves have been tested and approved for use in industrial applications, including those with heavy machinery and harsh chemicals. In this category, the important features are chemical resistance and puncture resistance.
Fit and Thickness
After the glove grade, you should also pay attention to fit and thickness.
Since latex-free nitrile isn’t as stretchy as latex, fit is incredibly important for comfort. Look for a nitrile glove designed like a latex glove--with a close but stretchy fit and a loose cuff for easy application and removal.
Glove thickness directly impacts puncture resistance and durability. Basically, the thicker the glove, the more protection you’ll have. Industrial applications need the thickest gloves, while medical applications need relatively thin gloves to retain tactile sensitivity.
Pay Attention to Other Allergens
Just because nitrile gloves are latex-free doesn’t mean they’re allergen free!
If you’re concerned about allergens in disposable gloves, always look for gloves that are both latex-free and powder-free, as this will minimize any risk of skin irritation. However, because powder is often used for easier application of stiff glove material, fit is especially important in powder-free gloves.
Shop for High-Quality Gloves You Can Trust Every Time
Looking for high quality, allergen-friendly gloves you can always trust to get the job done right? Our nitrile gloves are designed with performance and comfort in mind, and they’re available at a price that works for you.
Time to make the switch to disposable gloves that work as hard as you do. Check out our store to take a look at our available nitrile gloves today. And if you’re ordering for your whole organization, our customer service team would be happy to set up a wholesale order.
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