So, what is Nitrile Rubber and What is it Used For?

Nitrile rubber is a copolymer, a material derived by bonding two different molecules – butadiene and acrylonitrile. This rubber has become a very popular choice in many industries as the standard material used in safety gloves. Glove suppliers recommend to use nitrile gloves for protection instead of latex or neoprene if the specific task requires the additional safety which nitrile can offer.

For some time now there has been a push to promote the benefits of sourcing the best glove for a particular task. Some businesses have relied on outdated information regarding the properties of various gloves and have at times purchased inadequate protection and also, at times, over spent on protection which is unnecessary for their particular industry.

A quick look at some of the benefits of nitrile gloves will be useful in determining if nitrile is the best form of protection for your business. Here are 5 properties nitrile gloves have which should be looked at before making a purchase:

  1. Nitrile rubber has a high resistance to all petroleum products. This is in contrast to latex and neoprene which have a lower resistance and are not recommended for tasks which involve a high degree of contact with petroleum based liquids.
  2. Unlike latex, nitrile is a synthetic rubber which does not induce any allergic reaction. There has been an ever increasing incidence of allergic reactions to latex gloves over recent years and it is prudent for businesses to offer an alternative to this kind of rubber. Nitrile is a good cost effective option for companies who traditionally use latex.
  3. Nitrile has been proven to be up to 3 times stronger than latex, and offers a much improved puncture resistance. Workers who are faced with more labour intensive tasks would see a greater lifespan from a nitrile glove and also a greater degree of protection.
  4. Nitrile gloves may offer an alternative to those with latex allergies but until recently nitrile had caused sensitivity in some wearers. This was caused by a sulphur based chemical used in the manufacturing process which has since been removed. Today’s nitrile gloves are one of the best options for people with sensitivities to rubber.
  5. Although not as pliable as neoprene or latex, nitrile gloves have been adapted over recent years to become softer and more user friendly. Today’s gloves offer a very good combination of durability and dexterity.   

Although nitrile is has many properties which make it a popular choice for many industries. It must be noted that there are factors which might make nitrile unsuitable for your business:

Nitrile gloves tend to be a more expensive than latex and neoprene. If you’re in an industry which has high usage, or task which require clean glove changes on a regular basis this may prove to be an unnecessary expense. Also, nitrile is biodegradable.

This is a positive factor for environmental issues but it does mean the rubber will perish quicker than others, and prolonged use in wet conditions will reduce the lifespan of the glove.