Latex gloves are a common sight in medical facilities, restaurants, the manufacturing industry, and many other work areas. But have you ever wondered why you shouldn’t recycle them? And how exactly can they protect you from harmful substances? Check out some incredible facts about latex gloves!
Latex gloves are not recyclable
Even the toughest medical-grade gloves out are not intended to be worn indefinitely. While latex gloves are silky and waterproof, they are a type of disposable glove that you should only use once. This is because they come in direct contact with various unsafe materials. Therefore, throwing them out after using them is the most likely scenario.
Actually, you should never try to recycle them. In fact, most recycling centers don’t accept rubber. While natural rubber itself is safe and biodegradable, most recycling facilities will not receive latex gloves strictly because they carry unwanted materials, germs, and chemicals.
Still, you shouldn’t worry about your gloves ending up in landfills. Since latex gloves are biodegradable, they’ll break down quickly. Plus, there are no significant gains from recycling them. That’s why you can safely toss them in the waste bin when you’re done.
The two types of latex gloves
If you’ve ever used latex gloves, you’ve probably encountered powdered as well as powder-free types. Those are the two main types of rubber gloves. So should you use powdered vs. powder-free gloves?
Well, the first type uses additional cornstarch to make it easier for you to put them on. The powder also prevents them from sticking together. This enables you to take them out and put them on quickly in busy locations. Also, you can wear powdered gloves for longer without feeling uncomfortable.
Yet, there is a downside to that. The cornstarch powder can stick to your skin and, in some cases, cause allergies. It can also trigger an existing latex allergy much quicker. Some studies have found that these types can cause contamination if the powder sticks to hands, surfaces, or clothing.
Alternatively, powder-free latex gloves undergo chlorination during the manufacturing process. These latex products are specially treated with chlorine and washed out with water to remove any latex proteins or residue. While this eliminates the need for powder, it also lowers their flexibility. Also, they are harder to put on or remove, and they have a looser grip compared to powdered gloves. Still, these types of gloves are generally safer for the skin and the environment.
Mainly for safety purposes
The food and medical industry frequently use latex gloves because they provide strong protection against bloodborne pathogens. These gloves provide an exceptional physical barrier, and that’s why most companies use them to keep their employees safe. They can protect the skin from chemical burns or dangerous exposure to chemical substances.
However, most companies have to choose the glove materials carefully depending on the working conditions. For example, latex gloves offer high chemical resistance against water-based or biological materials. That’s why you’ll often encounter them in the medical, food, or sanitation industry.
On the other hand, nitrile gloves work better for infectious agents and harsher chemicals. Sometimes, manufacturers can choose nitrile over latex to protect their employees from allergic reactions. In fact, some labs might not even allow latex gloves, but this will all depend on the laboratory setting and the types of chemicals. Nevertheless, if allergies aren’t a problem, you can use latex gloves in most medical or food service environments, and they’ll provide you with comfort, protection, and flexibility.
While gloves made of latex can keep the wearer safe, they also prevent cross-contamination. For example, disposable latex gloves can stop the spread of germs in medical settings or food contamination in restaurants. Preventing cross-contamination is one of the single most important goals of most companies that produce latex gloves. For example, the FDA prohibits the use of bare hands for preparing food. However, while gloves are effective at preventing contamination, they can just as equally act as the source of contamination if they are not used properly. How can that happen?
Well, you’ll likely encounter it in the food industry, where food prep workers touch various different surfaces. In that case, rubber gloves can still transfer pathogens from one surface to another. The biggest risk comes from using gloves to touch a specific type of food, such as raw meat, and then touching another surface, ingredient, or even ready-to-eat food. To use gloves safely, you’ll need to replace them every time you touch a contaminated material. Plus, you should also wash your hands whenever you are swapping gloves.
Latex gloves and fashion do get along
In the past few decades, latex has become a huge fashion trend. Much like other rubber garments, latex gloves have amassed a huge following of fashion-aware individuals. In the past, latex was considered taboo. It was used solely for military or fetish purposes. However, by the 1990s, latex fashion blew up, and the material was featured in all over popular culture. While it is no longer considered unusual, it still has shock value, and it looks incredibly attractive.
Typically, part of the fashion appeal of latex gloves is the fact that they are shiny and somewhat mysterious. They look otherworldly and pair incredibly well with other latex garments such as bodysuits or leggings. Of course, these gloves don’t resemble single-use medical gloves, and instead, they can be black, red, pink, or any other color. But if you’re curious enough to see latex gloves, we recommend checking out https://laidtex.com/collections/latex-gloves.
Using latex gloves in sex and BDSM is another part of why they are so popular. Their skin-tight performance and wet-shine looks turn them into the embodiment of pure seduction and eroticism.
Decent alternatives to latex gloves
As mentioned earlier, latex gloves are not the only types you can use in your workplace. Latex allergies are one of the biggest reasons why some companies are not using these gloves. While such allergies occur in less than 1% of Americans, some companies could choose to avoid latex gloves altogether to keep their employees safe.
Also, other materials could provide a higher degree of protection depending on the work or lab conditions. For example, the cooking or the food industry frequently uses powder-free polyurethane gloves and vinyl gloves. These two types are not as sticky as latex gloves. Plus, they feel slightly more flexible.
Moreover, nitrile gloves are the safest for harsh lab conditions and anyone working with corrosive chemicals. Neoprene gloves also provide adequate protection against corrosive materials and solvents, but they are not as resistant to tears as nitrile gloves.