Different Grades of Disposable Gloves
Disposable gloves not only have to fit your hand well, they also have to be appropriate to the task being performed. Some tasks may require a high degree of tactile sensitivity while others may require resistance to abrasives or particular chemicals. Others may require special features for better gripping of small objects. There are various types of gloves for different applications, and the best differentiator is the grade.
Disposable gloves come in different sizes, colors, and materials. But the most important category to consider when buying disposable gloves is the grade. The different grades are food grade, industrial grade, medical/exam grade, and surgical grade.
Food grade gloves are designed to fulfill a variety of tasks in the food industry, but they aren’t designed for prolonged use. They are approved for use for food preparation and handling, or other lighter duty and low risk tasks. They are ideal for carrying out a variety of food service tasks such as preparing food, cleaning tabletops, or kitchen cleaning tasks. Food grade gloves are generally made of polyethylene as it is the most economical choice.
Industrial grade gloves are designed to stand up to harsh chemicals. These gloves are very durable and designed not to puncture, rip, or tear under heavy load. They are designed for completing a variety of janitorial, automotive, or heavier duty industrial and manufacturing tasks. Industrial gloves are available in vinyl, latex and nitrile.
Medical and exam grade gloves are approved for use in hospitals, healthcare, or laboratories and are generally used for non-surgical procedures such as medical examinations. They are used when there is a risk of coming in contact with bodily fluids or contaminants during patient examination. Medical and exam grade gloves require rigorous factory-level testing and need to meet the FDA's acceptable quality limits (AQL) for exam gloves.
It is important to note that some patients may have sensitivities or allergies to latex, this is why nitrile and vinyl are now the most commonly used gloves in medical and exam cases. The FDA also banned the use of powdered medical and exam gloves due to the risk of patient sensitivities or allergies to the powder.
Surgical GradeSurgical grade gloves are primarily used in the medical and healthcare settings where there is a very significant risk of exposure or contact with bloodborne pathogens. Surgical grade gloves need to be FDA approved. They have a very durable design and do not easily puncture, rip, or tear. They are also impervious to liquids and will block pathogens from bodily fluids such as sweat, mucous, saliva, and blood from getting in contact with the skin.