Vinyl vs. latex gloves

Written by brenda priddy
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Vinyl vs. latex gloves
Latex and vinyl gloves each have their own pros and cons. (latex gloves image by Wendy Lea Morgan from Fotolia.com)

Glove production companies have created gloves made from materials alternative to latex for various reasons, including material strength and latex sensitivity. There are several differences between the two glove materials in addition to these. Vinyl and latex are not completely interchangeable, and it is important to realise the health risks associated with both glove types.

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Benefits

Latex gloves have long been the standard of gloves for the medical industry and other industries where contamination is high. Latex gloves are an effective barrier against infectious diseases and blood-borne pathogens. Non-latex gloves, such as vinyl, are provided for people who are allergic to latex. Vinyl gloves provide protection from many of the same health concerns.

Warning

Neither latex gloves nor vinyl gloves protect against every illness or problem. No one glove material can provide an effective barrier against everything. For this reason, many health care businesses have a glove management program that monitors glove use and the types of infections and viruses that are stopped by which type of glove. Always check with a knowledgeable professional before deciding on a glove to use for a particular task.

Uses

Latex and vinyl gloves are used in the health industry and other industries. Gloves are a top choice as protection in health care because of their proven effectiveness against various diseases, illnesses, viruses and other communicable health problems. Latex is the preferred choice among many health regulators, but several alternatives, such as vinyl, are offered for the completion of different tasks. Vinyl has different material strengths than latex and is used for a few different applications. These gloves are also used in chemical settings to protect the body from absorbing chemicals.

Limitations

Vinyl gloves have a much higher failure rate than latex gloves in test settings. This makes them a less stable material to use in high-risk situations. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Agency for Healthcare (OHSAH) in British Columbia, surgeons do not trust vinyl gloves as much as latex gloves for reliability and performance. OHSAH also recommends using double gloves for both latex and vinyl gloves when administering drugs to others.

Considerations

If you do not have an allergy to latex, then using a latex glove is safer. Latex gloves are proven to be effective for short-term tasks and for tasks that do not input a lot of stress onto the glove. However, if you are allergic to latex, vinyl gloves do provide an effective barrier against chemicals, diseases and viruses.

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