Medical Equipment Blog

Disposable Nitrile Gloves Q & A

Friday, April 15, 2011

Are disposable nitrile gloves environmentally friendly?
Disposable nitrile gloves are made of various compounds and chemicals, all which are not considered to be natural products. When nitrile gloves are thrown out into landfills, they do not decompose, and will remain intact. They gradually shred with exposure to the elements and sunlight, but they will not break down and disappear completely. When disposable nitrile gloves are incinerated, they produce harmless water and a small amount of carbon dioxide and other chemicals that are generally considered to be environmentally safe. For this reason, incineration of these products is considered the best option for final disposal.

How good are disposable nitrile gloves at providing barrier protection?

Barrier protection from punctures and tears is one of the best features of nitrile gloves. They are considered to be superior to even latex, which just a few years ago was the standard. Although they are slightly more expensive than latex, they are a good option for all medical applications. OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Association, approves the use of nitrile gloves for use with several different types of chemicals, including cytotoxic drugs. Caution must always be used whenever working with any dangerous substances to limit the exposure of the glove to sharp objects that may cause punctures, even if the glove is very durable and puncture resistant.

Is there any chance of having a reaction to nitrile gloves?

Nitrile gloves do not contain any latex, and therefore are considered a good option for those with a latex reaction. However, as with literally any substance or material, there is always the chance that some individual may be highly sensitive to the chemicals used in the curing of nitrile. Sometimes, the symptoms are similar to a latex allergy including redness, rash, burning sensation on the skin, watery eyes, and swelling. People often mistake this to indicate that latex is present in the gloves, when in fact it is an allergy to the curing chemicals, usually carbamates or thiruams or occasionally even the dyes used in the glove. Discontinuing use typically resolves the symptoms. 

Nitrile allergies or reactions are relatively uncommon, other than a slight redness or itching where the gloves contact the skin. Be careful to avoid storing nitrile and latex gloves together if you are allergic to latex, as some of the latex protein may be contaminating the nitrile gloves, leading to allergic reactions.

Is it hard to find the rights size of disposable nitrile gloves?

Nitrile gloves are a tighter fit than latex or other types of gloves, since the nitrile has a higher level of elasticity. Many medical professionals choose a size larger than what they wear in latex gloves when selecting nitrile, but this is really a personal preference. For individuals with extremely large hands an extra large size may be required. Shopping around and trying different brands of disposable nitrile gloves may also be helpful if you find the current brand you are using too snug of a fit even at the largest size.

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