PVC Vs. Nitrile Gloves

PVC and nitrile gloves are used in professional industries to protect or guard against acids, chemicals and other harmful agents.
PVC and nitrile gloves are used in professional industries to protect or guard against acids, chemicals and other harmful agents. (Image: medical gloves image by sasha from Fotolia.com)

PVC and nitrile gloves are designed to safely handle hazardous or harmful chemicals in various commercial industries. As PVC and nitrile gloves are not made of latex, they can serve as a safe alternative for industry workers and patients who are latex sensitive. Their primary difference is the job they are designed for and what chemicals each type of glove can tolerate.

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PVC Gloves

Typically, PVC (vinyl) gloves are used in food service, janitorial, and housekeeping staff industries and as a latex alternative for persons with latex allergies. Additionally, PVC gloves vary in durability depending on the task they are intended for. The lightest durability is used in food service industries to prepare and serve food; the heaviest durability is capable of handling acids, caustics, and some solvents used in mining, auto, and construction industries.

Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile gloves are designed for healthcare and laboratory workers that come in contact with bloodborne pathogens and for performing sterile procedures, such as surgery. Like PVC gloves, nitrile gloves can be either disposable or reusable. Almost all gloves used by medical personnel are disposable. Additionally, nitrile gloves are made with synthetics rather than latex, and can be used by persons allergic to latex.

Where to Buy

You can purchase the standard PVC dotted work glove at most home, auto and hardware stores. Nitrile gloves can also be purchased at local or online pharmacies and drug stores.

Cost

The price of each type of glove depends on if you are purchasing a single pair of reusable gloves or a box of a few hundred disposable gloves. A single pair of standard PVC dotted work gloves start at around $13 as of 2010. However, a box of disposable nitrile gloves can cost little as $10. The prices generally raises as the level of durability and usability increase. For example, a pair of gloves used to work with hazardous chemicals in a steel plant may cost around $35.

Considerations

The primary difference between PVC and nitrile gloves is the material they are manufactured from. Additionally, they can be manufactured to share some of the same job functions. For example, a doctor's office may have PVC, latex and nitrile gloves as an option for use with their patients. However, while examination gloves can be manufactured from either PVC or nitrile, nitrile gloves are not capable of tolerating hazardous chemicals and heat like PVC gloves are manufactured to do.

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