Nitrile Gloves: Why Color Is Important

We all know there’s a need for cleanliness, but some of the chemicals in cleaning products can play havoc with the skin. Gloves appear to be the answer, but rubber gloves can cause their own problems. Many people are sensitive to natural rubber latex, and even more develop a sensitivity as a result of frequent exposure, so the best thing to do is avoid the issue and protect your hands with gloves which are latex free.

Nitrile rubber is a synthetic product which is resistant to many chemicals. It functions within a wide temperature range and is used in the aeronautical industry to make fuel and oil hoses. Although it is not quite so flexible as natural rubber, it has many other advantages. Nitrile gloves are favoured by doctors and healthcare workers because they are three times more resistant to punctures. They protect both patient and doctor from the spread of blood borne disease and can also be used when handling highly toxic chemicals such as chemotherapy drugs. But they do more than protect the nurse or doctor. Where patients suffer from an allergy, the use of rubber gloves can induce anaphylaxis; this is one reason why some hospitals, most notably the Johns Hopkins hospital in Baltimore, have banned them in favour of non allergenic types.

Traditional latex gloves are milky colored, but nitrile versions are usually colored to make it easy to distinguish them. Blue is typically used for patient examinations, the color makes it easy to see if blood or other bodily fluids have come into contact with the glove. Other colors are also available, some specific to certain brands. Kimberley Clark’s range is known for its quality and is easy to identify, being purple, while Medline’s range is green. Medical professionals find it easy, as a result, to identify latex free gloves and use them in cases where the highest level of protection is needed.

Green, blue and purple nitrile gloves are all useful in a medical environment, but there are many non medical situations where it is necessary to protect the skin. There is a considerable demand for black types which are widely used by beauty therapists, tattoo artists and hair stylists. Hydrogen peroxide and hair colorant can irritate the skin quite badly, especially when it is exposed several times a day.

Black nitrile is also popular with police officers who value the material over vinyl as it is less likely to tear in an aggressive situation. Although there is no real functional difference between blue and black nitrile gloves, the dark color seems to make them more acceptable. They are easy to put on, easy to use and have a smart, non medical appearance which is ideal for use in many professions.