In the 1960s, due to the high increase in cases of latex allergy among health professionals and the general population, the chemical industry initiated the manufacture of new gloves made of a material other than latex: nitrile.
Nitrile, or its chemical name nitrile butadiene, is an unsaturated copolymer composed of 2 essential elements: propanonitrile (acrylonitrile) and some butadiene monomers.
It has an instantaneous recovery capacity (resilience), making it useful for the manufacture of disposable laboratory gloves, industrial gloves, and medical exam gloves. Nitrile is more resistant than latex to some fluids like oils and acids.
Nitrile exam gloves are three times more resistant to punctures (puncture resistance) than natural rubber gloves. They are also more resistant to oils, fuels, and other chemicals substances (the more nitrile added into the polymer, the higher the resistance to oils, but the lower the material's flexibility).
The physical and chemical properties of nitrile exam gloves vary depending on the nitrile composition of the polymer.
What are nitrile exam gloves?
Nitrile exam gloves are mainly indicated for medical and laboratory use, as they offer high levels of hand protection against dangerous substances in the work area.
Nitrile exam gloves protect against elements of different levels of toxicity or contamination. Thanks to nitrile gloves, the skin, the body's largest organ, and so sensitive to some non-compatible or harmful substances, is safe.
But nitrile exam gloves also protect the rest of the body from the harmful effects that some substances could have on health after prolonged exposure. The skin will not absorb these elements, thus preventing their toxic effect from spreading to the rest of the body.
One of the most leading uses of nitrile is in the food industry due to their long-lasting sterility and high-temperature resistance: from -40°C to 120°C. Nitrile rubber is resistant to petroleum derivatives. Ozone, aromatic hydrocarbons, ketones, esters, and aldehydes can attack both nitrile rubber and natural rubber.
Traditionally, latex gloves tend to be more appropriate for tasks that require much dexterity since they are more adaptable, elastic, and comfortable. However, nowadays, nitrile exam gloves have been technologically improved, allowing them to perform examination tasks that require dexterity, fulfilling their duty well.
Nitrile exam gloves have a higher cost than those made with latex, being difficult to replace them in places where there are not enough resources.
Nitrile is a synthetic rubber with no latex protein content and is safer for people allergic to latex protein. Nitrile exam gloves are also considered the most durable type of disposable gloves.
Both models meet the protection classification of category III: complex hazards, which makes them safe for all kinds of chemical liquid handling.
Their total innocuousness in food handling guarantees no particle migration and makes them indispensable in food, pharmaceutical, fruit and vegetable, research, sanitary, nuclear, veterinary, and cleaning sectors.
Nitrile exam gloves are beneficial in healthcare. It saves possible allergies to latex for both healthcare personnel and patients. In addition, they provide the safety required in these cases, fully protecting the professional against bacteria, viruses, and contaminated fluids.
This kind of glove provides excellent comfort and precision for the performance of healthcare work. Microbiological safety is a severe issue where professionals who directly contact people's bodies must use nitrile exam gloves for their protection.