There are basically three different disposable glove types available. The trick to choosing the right disposable glove is in knowing exactly what you intend to use the gloves for as well as the characteristics that each type have to offer. Let’s briefly review each below.
Latex Gloves are the most common disposable gloves that are typically seen in health care settings such as hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices. The disposable latex glove has been the most popular and practical solution for the needs of the health care industry for many years due to the superior barrier it provides to the many risks associated with various biohazards not the least of which is blood borne pathogens.
One major downside to Latex gloves is the possibility of an allergic reaction. An estimated 5% of the general population may have an allergic reaction to contact with Latex. Estimates have shown a much higher allergic reaction rate of 10% to 12% for those who are regularly exposed latex such as individuals who work in the health care industries. While many allergic reactions manifest themselves what may seem a relatively benign rash, in severe cases the reaction can be life threatening. Furthermore, for those who are severely allergic, even being in the same room with those who are using latex gloves may pose a risk. The natural rubber latex contains certain proteins which are thought to be at the heart of the allergic reaction. When these proteins mix with the powder in powdered latex gloves the powder provides the vehicle which can allow the proteins within the latex glove to become airborne. Consequently, powder free latex gloves may be a better option when the allergic risk of all who will be in the room during their use cannot be adequately determined.
That having been said, it is still the general consensus in the health care world that a latex afford the best protection, overall, for those working in this field due to their superior contamination barrier, excellent elasticity properties and strength, and ease and comfort of use.
For those who are simply unable to use latex gloves due to allergic reactions, Nitrile Disposable Gloves would likely be the next best choice since they are latex free and afford some of the same benefits, even if to a lesser degree in some areas, as latex gloves. While not as secure a barrier to pathogens as latex it would still be next best option available. This type of glove offers excellent resistance to solvents and other chemicals while still allowing the user good dexterity and sensitivity. Consequently, nitrile disposable gloves would likely be the glove of choice for mechanics as well as those in the cleaning industry and others who may come in regular contact with various chemicals.
The third and final option would be vinyl gloves. While they are very cost effective relative to Latex and Nitrile, they afford much less protection for those in the health care industry than either latex or nitrile. This type of disposable glove is much better suited to the food service industry