Nitrile gloves are gaining popularity as they replace the formerly ubiquitous latex gloves across the country. Latex gloves, long the industry standard in doctor’s and dentist’s offices as well as off-the-beaten-path establishments such as tattoo parlors and piercing shops, are increasingly falling out of favor.
Several reasons exist for this, chief among them the fact that latex is an allergen. According to a University of Southern California publication, contact with latex can result in irritant contact dermatitis (where the skin displays signs of dryness and itching) and allergic contact dermatitis (which can cause a rash and oozing blisters which spread to other parts of the body), both of which may take several days to show up. It can also result in an immediate allergic reaction, with symptoms ranging from moderate to severe.
Although latex is usually responsible, it isn’t the only element that can cause a reaction (for instance, corn starch powder also increases the chances, according to the University of Vermont) Because of the likelihood that professionals could cause such a reaction in patients or customers – even if they themselves aren’t allergic – many are switching over to non-latex gloves.
According to a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, among the most common options are nitrile, vinyl, and co-polymer.
Nitrile gloves are the most popular replacement option. Not only are they non-allergenic because they’re made from petroleum, but they are much stronger and rip open when punctured instead of retaining pinholes as latex does. This, along with their greater chemical protection, makes them a better choice for settings that use dangerous substances or needles. Lastly, nitrile (which is made from a synthetic substance) isn’t subject to price swings, a final point in its favor.