Gloves come in a huge variety of materials, shapes, sizes and functions. Safety gloves usually are made of a various synthetic or natural polymers to guarantee flexibility, ease of use, safety, and endurance. Companies have created gloves made of vinyl, isoprene or other synthetic rubbers as an alternative to latex gloves, for various reasons. One of the most common materials for gloves is vinyl, widely known to the public as PVC. Although there are similarities between latex and vinyl gloves, they are not exactly interchangeable and it is very important to understand the exact differences between these common materials.
Also known as polyvinyl chloride, and abbreviated as PVC, it is one of the most widely used plastics out on the market, together with polyethylene and polypropylene. The applications for PVC range from construction, where it can replace copper, wood or even iron, to clothing, cables and numerous instances where it can easily replace rubber. PVC is known as a low cost material with excellent biological and chemical resistance, thus making it ideal for pipes, small detailed objects, wire insulators and other applications. PVC’s elasticity can be increased by adding elastomers and plasticizer, resulting in high tension objects, similar to rubbers. Therefore, gloves made of PVC can exhibit almost the same properties as rubber gloves, at a lower cost.
Benefits of vinyl gloves when compared to other types of gloves
Gloves made of vinyl are made with an added polymer to increase the stretch possibilities when pressed upon. The gloves can withstand punctures, stretches and tears at a decent rate, enabling it to be a good choice in health care situations, while remaining sanitary. Compared to latex gloves, vinyl gloves are thinner, and they can withstand puncture and cuts better. However, latex gloves have a better behavior during stretching and tearing tests.
Vinyl gloves, when compared to latex gloves, do not have an allergenic effect on users. The neutral effect on the skin means that vinyl gloves can be worn by any individual at no risk. Latex, on the other hand, can cause serious allergic reactions when in contact with the skin. Also, vinyl gloves act as an excellent germ and blood pathogens barrier between individuals, reducing health risks or concerns. Unfortunately, vinyl gloves, as other types of gloves, don’t provide ultimate protection against every pathogen. Special care must be given to disease management and monitoring of various pathogens and bacteria, to know exactly which pathogens is stopped by which type of glove material. Put in simpler words, there is no glove material that can stop every type of pathogen. Health care professionals should decide and take part in a careful assessment of risk, regarding any type of glove, including vinyl gloves.
Vinyl gloves are used predominantly in the health care industry, chemical industry, oil industry, and other related areas where safety is required. They act as effective protection layers for pathogens, oily substances, acidic liquids and emulsions and other detrimental or dangerous factors. Another characteristic of vinyl is the excellent antistatic properties, making them a great choice for electrical and power chord work. Vinyl has particular material strength when compared to latex, providing added protection in case of acidic and chemical protection. Chemical settings and laboratory use is recommended specifically for PVC gloves, while latex gloves are aimed more at the health industry. Also, vinyl gloves can be produced in both the powdered version, as well as the unpowdered version.
In terms of elasticity, vinyl gloves have a somewhat higher rate of breakdown than latex gloves. As such, the material is less resistant during stress tests, with a higher risk of tearing and breaking in the long run. This is the main reason why vinyl gloves are not used by surgeons during urgent procedures.
A great advantage of vinyl gloves when compared to other polymer gloves, such as isoprene gloves, is the cost. PVC is known as a very cheap alternative to rubbers, and thanks to added elastomers and plasticizers, it can resemble rubber in terms of tensile strength and elasticity. As a consequence, vinyl gloves can be a reasonable choice when dealing with cost reductions or other cost sensitive areas, such as public hospitals or distress area necessities.