So, what exactly is nitrile? It is a synthetic rubber that acts as a great substitute for latex. It doesn’t pose any allergen threats like its latex counterpart, and it is also inherently chemically resistant and stronger than latex. Nitrile is inherently BPA free as well as waterproof.
A synthetic rubber, nitrile is man-made in a laboratory, as a byproduct of petroleum. The demand for nitrile has grown steadily from its outset during World War I when a shortage of natural rubber prompted its development.
Nitrile comes in medical grade and industrial grade. But what does this mean for you?
Industrial grade nitrile gloves are best used in situations where you will be handling harsh chemicals. Some of these industries include janitorial services, food services, and automotive shops. Industrial grade nitrile gloves also offer wearers a higher level of puncture resistance.
Medical grade nitrile gloves are appropriate for use in environments where you’ll be coming in contact with environmental contaminates or blood-borne pathogens. You might also see them labeled as examiner gloves, and they can be used in places like dental office, laboratories, hospitals, and cleanrooms.
One key difference about medical grade nitrile gloves is that they must undergo a series of rigorous tests in order to meet safety guidelines set forth by the FDA.
All gloves come in a variety of thicknesses, which are measured in mils. One mil is one-thousandth of an inch. When it comes to disposable nitrile gloves, you’ll find the thicknesses can range anywhere from 4 mil for general purpose gloves all the way up to 15 mils for more heavy-duty industrial nitrile gloves.