History of Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile is the third-generation material for disposable gloves, which was introduced in the 1990s.

Nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) was patented in 1934 by German chemists Erich Konrad and Eduard Tschunkur, and commercial production began in earnest in the 1930s for such uses as manufacturing tires and rubber seals. Neil Tillotson and Luc DeBecker received a patent for nitrile exam glove technology in 1991 after producing the first 100 percent nitrile disposable glove. Initially slow to catch on in medical circles, nitrile gloves soon became the Next Big Thing in the industrial sector.

Today it is the most highly recommended disposable glove material—stronger than latex or vinyl, with fit, feel, and comfort rivaling that of latex. Nitrile has three times the puncture resistance of latex, as well as more abrasion and chemical resistance. It is recommended for working with 76 percent of common chemicals on the market. Nitrile is able to withstand mineral oils, vegetable oils, grease, gasoline, diesel fuel, and many acids.

Because it is free of organic latex proteins, nitrile does not aggravate latex allergies. That is an important consideration not only for those who are sensitive to latex but also for users who come into direct physical contact with the public, especially medical and dental professionals, security personnel, tattoo artists, and salon workers.

Nitrile gloves are popular for automotive, manufacturing, janitorial, plumbing, paint shop, chemical, and industrial uses. They’re also well-suited for food processing applications.

Nitrile gloves are manufactured in industrial and exam grades. As body heat warms nitrile gloves, they conform to hands for a uniform, more comfortable fit.

Pricing is dependent on the cost of petroleum. Nitrile gloves are more expensive than other materials, but are more durable and better suited for extended-duration use. Many industrial-grade nitrile gloves are thicker to better withstand more demanding applications. Nitrile gloves also have a longer shelf life than natural latex rubber.

MedSupply offers a variety of nitrile gloves for various industries.

Contact us to learn more.


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