Numerous industries and niches use disposable gloves in their day-to-day work. From automotive workers to food handlers, hairdressers to surgeons, protecting oneself and others is of paramount importance and hand protection is by far the most commonly used PPE (personal protective equipment) across all sectors.
When it comes to hand protection and disposable gloves, there are several options from which to choose – in particular, latex, vinyl, or nitrile gloves.
Another consideration is whether you should opt for powdered or powder-free gloves. Both powdered and powder-free disposable gloves offer benefits and suit specific applications.
Disposable powdered gloves (usually latex gloves) are ideal for users who need to make a lot of quick changes. Most often, these gloves are powdered with cornstarch, which makes it much easier to put these types of gloves on and take them off. They’re also less likely to sweat, maintaining a better grip. The powder does, however, leave a residue and this can cause contamination. As such, they are unsuitable in many settings. Furthermore, the powder can trigger or exacerbate dermal allergies.
Powdered gloves are often a more affordable alternative as cornstarch is used during the latex manufacturing process. To create powder-free gloves, the powder must actually be removed – thus taking longer to manufacture them.
Powdered gloves can be a good option in non-food and non-clinical settings like manufacturing, assembly lines, and for use at home (cleaning, doing handicrafts, etc).
Powder-free gloves use no powder coating. They are preferred for use when very frequent glove changes are not required and they are essential in medical and surgical settings. Since 206, for example, it has been illegal to use powdered medical-grade disposable gloves in hospitals and other clinical settings.
Many food preparation settings also require that gloves be powder-free.
Powder-free latex gloves are food safe and are also suitable for use in healthcare, dentistry, clinical settings, cleaning, janitorial work, general assembly, manufacturing, painting, decorating, and other settings.
Issues with Powdered Latex Gloves
Powdered latex gloves have their place, although latex is a known allergen for some people and can cause issues for people with any sensitivity to latex. Moreover, powder used in latex gloves can enhance the transfer rate of latex proteins to the user’s skin, worsening reactions to it in vulnerable uses. It can also cause latex protein particles to become airborne.
Some people are also sensitive or even allergic to the powder itself.
No powdered glove option is considered safe for medical use.
Powder-free gloves are a safer option. Even better, choosing nitrile gloves eliminates the risks posed by latex itself.
Why Choose Nitrile Gloves?
Nitrile gloves are latex-free. They do not trigger allergies and latex sensitivity and are a high-quality, versatile alternative.
Often recommended for food handling, nitrile is also widely preferred in hospitals and other clinical settings and most nitrile gloves are powder-free.
Known to be impervious to many substances and for their durability and resistance to punctures, tears, and snags, nitrile gloves are ideal for use in:
- Medical settings
- Hair salons
- Makeup studios
- Piercing and tattooing
- Auto shops/mechanics
- Construction sites
- Food Handling
- Emergency services (police/paramedics)
Another unique benefit of nitrile is that it is the only type of glove material that is widely accepted by recycling centres (note, however, that gloves used in any kind of medical setting or where exposure to biological hazards or other hazardous materials has occurred cannot be recycled). This is an especially great option for unused nitrile gloves that have exceeded their shelf life.
For many industries, while powdered latex gloves are an economical choice the need to minimise contamination in any environment will negate their use in favour of powder-free gloves. Nitrile gloves are widely considered a superior disposable glove option for their strength, durability, better safety rating, and powder-free status.