Medical Exam Nitrile Gloves
Medical Grade Nitrile Gloves
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What are medical grade nitrile gloves?
Medical grade nitrile gloves meet or exceed ASTM D6319-19 standards for evaluating the performance of nitrile rubber gloves when used in medical applications.¹ Nitrile rubber may contain powder based on ASTM D6319-19 standards, but as of December 19, 2016, the FDA banned medical grade nitrile gloves from containing powder based on "substantial risk of illness or injury to individuals exposed" to powdered rubber gloves.²
Medical grade gloves prevent the spread of infectious material when worn properly. The FDA recommends taking precautions when donning medical grade gloves such as washing hands with soap and water thoroughly before donning. Ensure gloves fit properly and are free from any rips and tears. Never reuse medical gloves and wash your hands after removing them or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
Can nitrile medical gloves be re-used?
The FDA last published a report on the guidance for the use of medical gloves on January 22, 2008.³ In this report, the FDA says one should never reuse medical gloves, never wash or disinfect medical gloves, and never share medical gloves with other users. These precautions are taken to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
The CDC recommends temporary measures for facilities under supply constraints. As of December 23, 2020 the CDC has a procedure for sanitizing gloves hands along with extending the use of gloves, and prioritizing the use of medical grade gloves.⁴ The CDC emphasizes that these contingency strategies only apply to healthcare facilities facing a limited supply of gloves. If your facilities supply chain faces a crisis, then the CDC may consider extreme measures such as suspending the use of gloves in low risk situations.⁵
When health care professionals are not exposed to pathogens, the CDC recommends considering non-healthcare glove alternatives such as food grade nitrile.
What is the difference between latex and nitrile rubber?
Nitrile is a synthetic rubber whereas latex is a natural rubber material derived from tree sap. Because some people are allergic to natural rubber latex, the FDA requires manufacturers to alert consumers to the materials used to make their disposable gloves. Latex medical gloves meet the same ASTM standards as nitrile medical gloves. Some gloves have further ratings for protection against chemotherapy, other chemicals, or biohazard waste.