Choosing the Right Pair of Gloves
PPE is one of the most crucial elements of any laboratory, especially when it comes to gloves. Gloves should be worn to protect lab personnel from chemicals, stains, infectious agents, and allergens. However, not all gloves are created equal.
The most common types of disposable gloves are latex, nitrile, and vinyl. Each provides a different purpose, different level of comfort and dexterity, and different protection against agents.
Latex gloves are a longtime first choice when it comes to disposable gloves. The gloves are made from plastic and offer the most comfort and dexterity. Latex gloves can be used in high-risk environments and are good for wearing for extended periods of time. Many doctors offices, hospitals, laboratories, and dentists use these gloves.
Popularity of latex gloves has decreased though because latex allergies/sensitivities have become more prevalent.
Vinyl gloves can be a great option for people looking for a latex-free, inexpensive option. They are made out of the synthetic material, PVC, making them resistant to water and oils. Vinyl gloves are most commonly used in non-hazardous or low-risk settings, such as food prep or other general purpose activities, because they are less durable and offer less protection. They should not be used when handling chemicals or infectious agents.
If you are looking for a cost-effective option and work in food prep, janitorial services, manufacturing services, or in low-risk healthcare - vinyl gloves are your answer.
Many doctors, dentists, and hospitals have made the switch to nitrile gloves due to the prevalence of latex allergies. Nitrile gloves are made out of a synthetic polymer and have high puncture and chemical resistance, making them the top latex alternative. Compared to vinyl, they can be worn for much longer, they offer more tactility, and can be used with chemicals, corrosives, and infectious materials.
They can be used in a variety of settings including healthcare/medical environments, laboratories, and other industrial settings. If you are looking for an allergy-free, flexible, and resistant glove that offers a similar feel and tactility to latex - nitrile gloves are the best choice for you.
To further see what your glove will be resistant to, check out Emerald’s Chemical Resistance Guide.