Why using the best quality disposable gloves matters

Donald Gillespie All, know-how, Product, Technical, Unigloves
Reading Time: 8 minute



The story behind high-quality disposable gloves

Just like with most items you purchase, isn’t it nice to know that someone is looking out for the quality and safety of the gloves you purchase? The Examination glove standards are the principal European legislation governing our range of gloves, for more details click here. They are concerned with ensuring that products are safe for patients and users, are manufactured in suitable environments, and that products meet the appropriate product standards.

At Unigloves, almost 10 years ago, our customers were demanding disposable gloves with a higher quality, higher performance and a good fit. This demand was based on the feedback they were receiving from their end users who were wanting better products to ‘protect my hands’. Unigloves saw an opportunity to develop a heavy duty, good quality, comfortable gloves offer that could be called truly great gloves. Hence the Advanced Series was born!

These pages are written to give you more information on Unigloves’ best quality disposable gloves whether you or your customer requires latex free (perhaps due to a worker with latex allergies) or would prefer latex gloves. We can help you find the best solution for your customers; this could be for a general-purpose request or for a specific application or need.

Not all disposable gloves are the same

At Unigloves, our best disposable gloves come in a variety of options from heavy duty work gloves to medical grade, powder free, examination gloves that are specially designed for the healthcare and tattoo markets where black nitrile gloves are increasing in popularity. Most of our gloves range are suitable for food handling, even handling raw meat, gone are the days of cotton gloves in the food industry. They are available from size small through to size large, or extra large, and are easy to put on.

Powdered or powder free disposable gloves come in different types of material. The most common types of glove material are nitrile rubber, natural latex rubber and vinyl. Each of these types is based on raw materials with price fluctuations that depend on specific market factors. By and large, nitrile is often considered premium to latex, which in turn is usually considered premium to vinyl. The fact is that materials are not equal in performance and can be more suited to a user dependent on the environment and application. In general, nitrile has better puncture resistance of the three and resists more chemicals overall, including oils and solvents. Latex has better tear resistance, often fits better, and provides better dexterity. Vinyl gloves have the best electrostatic dissipation properties and resist sulphuric acid better than nitrile or latex.

What is Nitrile?

Nitrile rubber is a man-made or synthetic rubber. Nitrile disposable gloves are made from a synthetic polymer composed of three monomers: acrylonitrile, butadiene and a carboxylic acid. The polymer properties are dependent on variations in composition. The term "nitrile" is used as a description because many of the distinguishing features of these polymers are due to the monomer acrylonitrile. The monomer imparts permeation resistance, allowing the material to withstand exposure to a wide variety of solvents and provide chemical resistance. It also determines the softness of the product and permits nitrile to be made with either a high or low modulus. 

What is Latex?

Natural Rubber Latex is a milky sap-like substance produced by the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis), found in Southeast Asia, India and South America. When the trunks of these rubber trees are tapped, they produce latex. This latex is then collected and used in manufacturing. Natural Rubber Latex is harvested from the rubber tree by a process of shallow cuts in the bark, called “tapping”. Latex coagulates on exposure to air, so the tapped liquid is "preserved" with ammonia. Then the solids are separated, like cream from milk. The Latex used for medical examination gloves is filtered and combined with selected chemical ingredients to enhance elasticity, strength, durability, and resistance to damage from ozone and other ageing effects. This process also reduces the levels of latex proteins and means they can be perfectly well tolerated by workers and their patients who had previously been unable to tolerate standard latex gloves.

Are you using the best quality disposable gloves?

You may think the terms best and disposable aren’t often seen together. However, you can be assured that Unigloves takes pride in its disposable gloves range and offers a product range to span the good (including vinyl gloves), better (including nitrile gloves) and best (including nitrile and latex gloves) categories of disposable gloves.

Unigloves’ Advanced Series of rubber gloves falls firmly into the best disposable gloves category and is designed to meet the needs of your customers who highly value their hands and want the best quality disposable gloves available.

Lower priced gloves don’t result in cost savings

One of the biggest mistakes made in the purchasing process is buying based solely on price. The overall value of a glove is much more complicated than just the price of a pair of gloves. In addition to price, buyers should consider performance in the application, comfort for the wearer, protection and safety risks and the resultant productivity.

Many disposable gloves are not properly formulated or processed. They are often under-cured and do not last long in application with high levels of failure, especially for puncture resistance. Medical examination consumes the majority of the disposable nitrile gloves across the globe and nurses, the largest users, typically wear a single pair of gloves for only a few minutes before discarding and replacing them for each new patient. Conversely, many industrial applications require 2-4 hours of continuous use of a single pair of disposable gloves. This extended length of time stresses the glove longer and can lead to failures in a glove that would not normally happen during a short, routine medical exam. For longer use times, it is important to choose a glove that is properly formulated and processed to withstand the application. Just think about the implications this could have on an employer regarding the hours of business and money lost due to employee absence, which could be due to allergic reactions or dermatitis. A 33 percent saving can quickly be negated by a glove that lasts only half the time.

Earlier this month Danone, the owner of the popular Cow & Gate baby food brand had to recall their Cheesy Broccoli Bake jarred food as it may contain fragments of rubber. The company said small pieces of a thin blue nitrile gloves had been found in some of the jars.

A recall notice was issued by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) which said the product may be "unsafe to eat". It is likely the gloves were of insufficient quality and had contaminated the produce in the food preparation areas.

As mentioned above, productivity is another very important factor when considering the savings of one glove compared to another. Often, workers will be more productive when using gloves that fit well, have an effective grip and thus a lower level of hand stress.

To summarise, glove performance and productivity are important factors when considering the economics of glove use. For an example by glove quantity and price, please click here.

Advanced processes

Specially designed to meet the demands found across an array of industry sectors and benefiting from Unigloves’ proprietary, best in class manufacturing process, your customers should find this range of quality gloves significantly easier to put on, or don and remove without irritating their skin.

Innovation is at the core of Unigloves’ product design process, ensuring that our best quality disposable gloves meet the demands of you and your customers. As a result, we have developed a comprehensive range of proprietary processes that are incorporated into our Advanced series of gloves:

  • Advanced gloves are washed for up to 3 times longer than regular examination gloves
  • Advanced gloves are chlorinated on both the inside and outside areas of the cuff to reduce tackiness and improve donning

However, the one aspect that is common to all the Advanced series is our attention to detail. The Advanced series are subjected to an enhanced manufacturing process which is fundamental to creating an exceptionally clean, soft and low-allergy series of best quality disposable gloves.

High level of comfort

The Advanced series of disposable gloves provide a more comfortable fit when in use, compared to using standard rubber gloves. The higher level of comfort is apparent even when worn for long periods, making the Advanced series the preferred choice for professionals who are seeking the ideal combination of comfort, dexterity, durability and good quality.

How can I measure glove quality?

Glove thickness is an important measurement and is normally taken from the palm area, in the EU it’s measured in mm and in the US mil thickness is used. However; glove thickness only tells part of the story.

The Acceptable Quality Level (AQL) is an internationally recognised quality standard designed to assess the statistical quality control of products such as medical protective, latex free gloves. Thus, measuring the % likelihood of pinhole defects in a batch of disposable gloves. An AQL result of 4.0 accepts the statistical probability that there are less than 4% of the products with defects in the batch of gloves. The most common AQL numbers in the UK and Europe are 1.5 and 4.0. However, you can also get 1.0 and 0.65 AQL rated gloves which are often used in specialist sectors such as microbiology labs, especially when chemical resistant gloves are required. 



Advanced products

From the superior chemical and biohazard resistance of Stronghold to the unique low-modulus formulation of Zero, the first glove free from chemical accelerators, zinc and sulphur compounds. The Advanced Series of disposable gloves represents the very best quality and design, making them suitable for use in the most demanding of environments.

The Advanced Series is comprised of five unique disposable glove styles with an AQL of either 1.5 or 0.65.

Each of the five styles has been designed with unique, high-quality disposable glove attributes and it is these differentials that help to make the Advanced Series our best in class glove offering.

What happens when workers use the wrong gloves or worse, do not wear gloves

It’s very likely that you know your shoe size, but do you know your glove size? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. One of the most common reasons for not wearing gloves is due to comfort and this is often due to the incorrect size of glove being worn. The Unigloves’ glove sizing guide contains a hand size chart, which is a useful resource to measure your hand size and ensure the correct sized glove is worn.

When workers use the wrong glove or do not wear gloves, the result can be much worse than not having clean hands. The impact on workers can be dramatic with the onset of work-related skin diseases, the most commonly known being contact dermatitis. Thankfully, the estimated rate of annual new cases of contact dermatitis seen by dermatologists during the last 5 years was lower than in the previous 10 years.

While the statistical analyses of EPIDERM data by the University of Manchester suggest that the overall incidence of contact dermatitis is likely to have reduced, this is not necessarily the case for contact dermatitis caused by exposure to some specific agents.

For more information on work-related skin disease in Great Britain, please refer to the statistics prepared annually by the Health and Safety Executive.

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you require any additional details.

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