What Are Nitrile Gloves?

If you use your hands regularly, such as because you’re a healthcare professional, you’ll want to protect them with the use of gloves.

One of the best glove materials to invest in is nitrile.

What, exactly, is nitrile?

Nitrile is a synthetic rubber compound that’s produced when butadiene and acrylonitrile molecules are combined. Nitrile gloves have become an affordable, effective material to be used as gloves.

Nitrile is used to make a variety of items, such as gaskets, transmission belts, synthetic leather, and oil seals, to mention just a few. With that in mind, let’s explore more about nitrile and why it’s a useful material for gloves.

How Did Nitrile Gloves Come About?
Nitrile gloves began as an alternative for people who were allergic to latex.

Since they are highly resistant to chemicals as well as wear and tear, this has made them become a very popular choice for gloves in a variety of situations.

It was thanks to two men – Neil Tillitson and Luc DeBecker – for the invention of nitrile gloves, which occurred in the 1980s. They established the final formula and technique for nitrile glove manufacturing in 1990.

Are Nitrile Gloves Latex?
It’s a common misconception that nitrile gloves contain latex.

This has come about as a result of how nitrile gloves are made. To make nitrile gloves, rubber is taken from rubber trees and processed into latex. Then, they are processed again until they become the nitrile compound, and it’s during this stage that their latex proteins are eliminated.

Having to undergo additional processing is what used to make nitrile gloves expensive, but thanks to technological advancements their price has decreased.

Earlier, we mentioned that nitrile gloves are made with butadiene and acrylonitrile. These molecules are what give nitrile gloves their excellent properties.

Acrylonitrile, for instance, boosts the chemical resistance of the gloves, and butadiene makes the gloves strong so that they can resist tears and punctures.

Are Nitrile Gloves Better Than Latex?
Nitrile gloves do have benefits over other types of glove materials, such as latex.

This is because they have a high puncture resistance and can also resist chemicals better than latex and even vinyl. Let’s see more facts about both types of gloves so you can choose the one that’s best for you.

Latex Gloves

Latex gloves are made out of plant-based rubber and people tend to like latex gloves because they feel comfortable and like a second skin, which is especially advantageous if you require dexterity when using your gloves.

This is why surgical gloves tend to be made out of latex.

One of the biggest drawbacks of latex gloves is that people can have severe allergies to them. Again, this is as a result of how they’re made from plant-based rubber. Another thing to consider about latex gloves is that they can’t be exposed to chemicals without becoming damaged, which does tend to limit their use.

Nitrile Gloves

By comparison, nitrile gloves are made out of synthetic rubber, which dramatically decreases the chance of someone being allergic to them.

Nitrile gloves are user-friendly because of how you don’t have to use them with powder in order to handle them or put them on.

Even the World Health Organization states that it’s recommended for people in healthcare settings to choose non-powdered gloves as this prevents reaction with alcohol-based hand rub, so they’re definitely worth considering in today’s world where we have to keep sanitizing our hands against viruses.

If you need to wear protective gloves during an emergency situation, such as if you’re a paramedic, nitrile gloves are a good choice because you won’t always be able to ask the person you’re treating if they have an allergy latex.

Nitrile gloves are also strong and durable, and you can use them with oils, chemicals, and solvents without worrying about them becoming damaged.

While latex gloves need to be used with powder, nitrile gloves don’t. This not only makes them more practical, especially in emergency situations, but it also means that they are resistant to sweat!

However, one drawback of nitrile gloves is that they don’t have as much tactile sensitivity as latex.