“If latex gloves are available in powder-free varieties in order to reduce the latex allergy problem, why are nitrile gloves often sold "Powder-Free" as well?”
Pulling On Nitrile Gloves
Good question; we're glad you asked.
Powdered latex gloves carry a double whammy for the person who is allergic to latex proteins.
Contact with the latex glove is bad enough, but the powder makes it worse, because the latex proteins adhere to the powder particles and carry additional irritants at the same time.
Getting rid of the powder helps reduce the allergy problems associated with latex gloves.
But why in the world would anyone want a powder-free nitrile glove?
There are no allergies associated with nitrile rubber, so why have powder-free nitrile gloves?
The answer is really simple.
There are two
reasons, in fact.
The first reason why powder-free nitrile gloves are viable is simply because lubricant is not needed to get a nitrile glove onto a wearer's hands.
Nitrile gloves do not have the tacky surface tension that latex gloves have.
It is that difficulty in donning latex gloves that moved manufacturers to use a glove powder in the first place.
But with nitrile gloves, the powder is not generally required.
The second reason is that the powder has more recently been shown to have negative consequences for open wounds, contributing to infection, scarring and adhesion.
The dust particles pick up bacteria in flight and deposit the bacteria in the wound when they land.
Why add this complication if it can be avoided?
Still, you can find powdered nitrile gloves if that is what you want.
Typically, you will find lightly-powdered nitrile gloves available where a particular glove type is considered an "Industrial Glove".
In some work environments, even nitrile gloves can benefit from a little powder to get the glove onto a hot, sweaty hand in a hurry.