Nine things you should know about disposable gloves

Yanimed Nitrile Gloves
7 min readJun 16, 2021
Disposable medical gloves
The differences of disposable medical gloves

Disposable gloves are disposed of immediately after a single-use. They are used in numerous areas — in private households, in the food industry and cosmetics sector, in building cleaning, in clinics, practices, and medical facilities such as nursing services.

Latex gloves, nitrile gloves, or disposable vinyl gloves reduce the risk of infection of patients and staff in the medical field, protect against contamination with harmful substances in laboratories and prevent contact with chemicals or food contamination. Due to their frequent use, disposable gloves must have high skin compatibility and the best wearing properties. Here you can find information about glove types, their properties, and their uses. Yanimed is the expert and the doctors choice for all kind of medical gloves.

1. there are different types of disposable gloves

Disposable gloves protect against infectious and chemical exposure as well as physical and mechanical damage. Careful consideration must be given to the activities for which disposable gloves are used. Latex gloves have high alkali and acid resistance; protective nitrile gloves are also resistant to numerous chemicals and are also resistant to oils. Vinyl disposable gloves are hardly ever used in the medical sector due to their susceptibility to defects and the plasticizers they contain. Gloves made of polyethylene film are mainly used in hairdressing and food processing. Disposable gloves are offered in all common sizes from XS to XL.

Disposable gloves are available in powdered and non-powdered versions. Powdered gloves can be easily slipped on, which is particularly advantageous for sweaty hands. However, powder in latex gloves increases the risk of allergies since when they are removed, powder particles swirl around that contain allergenic substances and can be absorbed through the respiratory tract. According to DIN EN 455, the use of powdered latex gloves is not permitted in the medical sector. Alternatively, nitrile protective gloves, in particular, are used. The following are the advantages and disadvantages of the individual types of gloves.

2. disposable latex gloves — the glove classics

Latex gloves powder-free latex gloves are among the glove classics and are used in numerous user circles in medicine, industry, trade, laboratories, and private households. Latex material is extremely elastic, extremely tear-resistant, and resistant to numerous alkalis and acids. In addition, protective gloves made of latex offer first-class wearing comfort with excellent tactile sensitivity. This type of glove is not suitable for handling fats and oils due to its permeability. Nitrile gloves are a suitable choice here. Because of the wide range of possible applications, disposable latex gloves are manufactured in numerous thicknesses and standardized sizes.

This type of glove is still one of the most widely used in the health care sector, as the flexible latex material ensures excellent tactile sensitivity. Very often, therefore, they are used as examination gloves and sterile surgical gloves. As a rule, latex gloves are provided with an additional rolled edge to prevent slipping. Sterile protective gloves with extended cuffs increase safety during surgery. Special textures that conform to the natural shape of the fingers prevent hand fatigue. Arguments in favor of disposable latex gloves: — Very flexible, non-slip, and highly elastic — Excellent fit, best wearing comfort — High tear resistance, excellent tactile sensitivity — Good resistance to mechanical and chemical stresses

3. nitrile gloves: a good alternative to latex

Nitrile Gloves are made of nitrile score with good wearing comfort and are often used as an alternative to latex gloves, as they do not contain latex proteins that cause allergies. Nitrile gloves are extremely stretchy, tear-resistant, and chemical-resistant, and permeable to some solvents such as acetone. In addition, nitrile protective gloves are easy to put on and take off, even when not powdered, due to their smooth inner surfaces. Because of their high virus impermeability, they are used in all medical areas, often as examination gloves at quarantine stations or by rescue services. Yanimed produces high quality nitrile gloves in various factories in Asia.

The advantages of disposable nitrile gloves:

High elasticity and tear resistance

Good tactile sensitivity and wearing properties

Easy to put on and take off

High virus and bacteria impermeability

Good resistance to chemicals

4. vinyl gloves — pleasantly soft on the skin

Vinyl gloves many patients appreciate disposable vinyl gloves during examinations because, unlike latex gloves, their soft consistency leaves the skin feeling more comfortable. However, this type of protective gloves has multiple disadvantages compared to nitrile and latex gloves, such as insufficient flexibility, limitations in terms of mechanical properties, and poorer fit. This type of glove is therefore only recommended to a limited extent for the medical sector. Vinyl examination gloves that comply with regulations and standards, such as EN 455–1, offer a high safety level. This type of glove is usually part of the first aid equipment in motor vehicle first aid kits, as the material fatigues very slowly. The characteristics of disposable vinyl gloves:

Soft consistency, therefore high acceptance

Resistant to aging, comfortable to wear

Possible health risk due to contained plasticizers

Limited mechanical properties and flexibility

questionable bacterial and viral impermeability

5. how are latex disposable gloves manufactured?

Latex gloves can be made of natural latex or artificial latex. Natural rubber is an elastic isoprene polymer, is extracted from the milky sap of the rubber tree Hevea brasiliensis, and has an extreme tensile strength than synthetic latex material cannot match. Meanwhile, milk sap from other rubber trees is also used for natural rubber production. The rubber resins contained in the milk can be processed into an optimally malleable material for the production of a wide variety of latex articles. The first artificial rubber was created around 1900, and a wide variety of synthetic isoprene compounds have been developed to date, such as styrene-butadiene copolymer or chloroprene rubber.

About 15 percent of latex glove users in the medical field and about 3 percent of patients are sensitive to the proteins contained in natural latex. A particularly high-risk indicator for the development of a latex allergy is the glove powder, which is why only powder-free protective gloves are used in the healthcare sector. Latex allergy can cause severe inflammation and cross-reactions.

6. reduction of protein levels by double chlorination

In case of latex allergy or hypersensitivity to natural rubber, synthetic latex gloves made of copolymer or polyisoprene are suitable. For demanding users, medical products, according to EN 455, are recommended. Due to double chlorination, latex protein values are hardly measurable. Thanks to a higher wall thickness, these disposable gloves guarantee more protection and can be used universally. The chlorination serves the purpose of removing the glove powder and, at the same time, a large part of the proteins. The minimization of latex proteins means that the powder-free glove variety is less likely to cause allergic reactions than powdered models. Latex allergy can be caused in two different ways:

Type I: Contact allergy triggered by additives in latex material. Common reactions are contact eczema on the skin

Type IV: Immediate type, caused by water-soluble natural latex proteins. If these proteins swirl around in the ambient air, sensitization is imminent. Acrogenic allergens are released into the ambient air by the glove powder.

If additives trigger a type IV contact allergy, it is easier to identify the causative substances than in the case of type I. Manufacturers either omit ingredients of concern and replace them with better-tolerated ones.

7 The AQL value — an important quality criterion

Disposable gloves are among the elementary utensils used in healthcare to prevent infections or the spread of germs. An important quality criterion for protective gloves is the AQL value (Acceptable Quality Level). This value is a sample provided in accordance with defined procedures and standards. From the measurement results, conclusions can be drawn about the overall quality of the product. In the AQL statistical quality procedure, characteristic values are derived from tables based on manufacturer recommendations to classify glove materials’ suitability.

The AQL value indicates which quantity of gloves is defective from a statistical point of view. First, the batch size, the total quantity of all gloves, is determined, resulting in the code letter listed in a table. Then the inspection level (general or special) is defined with various subclasses. The inspection level and the batch size result in the code letter. Now the partial quantity size or the sample can be read off in another table. Subsequently, the AQL value is determined, which is listed as a horizontal level in the table.

8. medical standard: AQL value of 1.5

According to the EN 455–1 standard, medical gloves are subject to General Test Level I, with an AQL value of 1.5. In the case of disposable gloves, this parameter relates to leak tightness (tears, holes). The guidelines prescribe a water retention test as the test method. This is a destructive method in which a glove is filled with one liter of water and must remain completely leak-proof within a specified time frame. The manufacturer indicates the AQL value on its packaging, which provides customers with information about manufacturing quality. Industrial standard is a value of 4.0, the characteristic value for the medical standard corresponds to 1.5, the maximum standard is an AQL value of 0.6. Other characteristics of disposable gloves include good resistance to degeneration and permeation.

9 A few more tips on the use of disposable gloves in the care sector

Users who wear sterile protective gloves should always keep a spare pair on hand because disposable gloves can become unsterile due to the slightest carelessness. Nurses must always check the glove packaging for damage and place the gloves on a germ-free shelf. Hygienic hand disinfection is required before donning. Hands must be completely dry before protective gloves are slipped on. Damp hands may cause cumulative-toxic eczema. After use, the gloves are disposed of immediately; repeated use cancels the protective effect.

Latex allergies manifest themselves with symptoms such as itching, skin irritation, watery eyes, coughing, or inflamed conjunctiva. If these signs occur, the nursing service management must be notified. To prevent skin damage from disinfectants and glove materials, hands need special care. Mild skin protection creams with arginine or tanning agents that prevent the protective horny layer from swelling are suitable. Caregivers massage the cream into the back of the hand, followed by the wrists and the spaces between the fingers, and finally the fingertips and nail folds.

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Yanimed Nitrile Gloves

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