Using Nitrile Gloves House-wide!

Bookmark 4/29/2007 - Written by the Medical Exam Glove team

Today, nitrile gloves are used widely by the healthcare industry as the latex-free exam glove of choice for nurses and doctors.  Known for its durability and increased elasticity compare to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) material, nitrile has an additional feature being able to act as a barrier to oil-based chemicals.  More hospitals are migrating to using nitrile exam gloves as this material becomes more affordable.

Price, traditionally a barrier for hospitals, is now in line with latex material. Over the years, the price of latex rubber has increased especially in the past year.  The price increase of this commodity is attributed to the increased demand world-wide of this natural resource.  Increased demand is most notably seen in China since latex rubber is widely used in the manufacturing of car tires. 

Looking at the acrylonitrile butadiene rubber (NBR), commonly called nitrile, the price has declined as production capacity increased to accommodate increased demand.  Many factories have begun migrating to the production of nitrile exam gloves from latex exam gloves since consumers have been responding to concerns over latex sensitivity.

Traditionally nitrile gloves were used as specialty gloves for handling hazardous material like chemotherapy drugs, but now they can be considered for general use as well.  The first generation nitrile gloves neither provided minimal tactile sensitivity nor focused on comfort for the clinician.  Nurses want to be protected well, but they want to provide the best care to patients above all else.  Any exam glove with minimal tactile sensitivity will prohibit clinicians from performing key tasks like starting intravenous catheters. 

It is no surprise that newer nitrile exam gloves like Kimberly Clark’s Sterling Silver are becoming the glove of choice since they offer excellent tactile sensitivity and elongation.  A key difference nurses will notice is the comfort level of the gloves.  Improved technology allowed the manufacturing of a thinner nitrile exam glove without sacrificing the ability to act as an effective barrier.  Since these exam gloves are thinner, they are cheaper than traditional nitrile gloves because less nitrile rubber is required to manufacture each glove.

As technology continues to improve, the use of nitrile gloves will become more rampant.  Eventually, latex gloves will phase out due to latex allergy concerns and the use of vinyl gloves will diminish replaced by a superior technology.  Nitrile exam glove for general use house wide is no longer just a dream, but a real possibility!


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