Allergic reactions with nitrile gloves: The Skytec solution
11th April 2024

Many wearers of disposable nitrile gloves can experience allergic reactions for a range of reasons. This discomfort can lead to workers removing their gloves, creating a higher risk of exposure to harmful hazardous substances.
The causes of allergic reactions are not always linked directly to disposable nitrile gloves and can include extraneous causes, rubber accelerators, exposure to chemicals, rubber processing chemicals, and natural rubber proteins.

Extraneous causes

Often allergic reactions or contact dermatitis are attributed to gloves, when the cause can be another source. The most notable change is a change in soap or detergents, or incomplete rinsing of the hands after washing. Skin cleansers designed for and labelled as “heavy-duty” or “waterless hand cleaners” can have more irritating ingredients including solvents and abrasives such as silica or wood particles. The incomplete rinsing of these cleansers can cause irritant contact dermatitis. Wearing a glove can sometimes irritate this further, by trapping the harmful abrasives in the glove, aggravating the condition.

Exposure to chemicals

Thin-gauge disposable gloves are not designed for heavy exposure to chemicals. Wearing disposable gloves with poor chemical protection for handling highly corrosive or dangerous solvent chemicals can further lead to extreme skin irritation. Also, for prolonged periods, chemicals can permeate through – so it is important to look at permeation guidance for chemical exposure.

Allergic reactions to glove materials

Latex allergy
Most severe allergic reactions to rubber products are caused by natural rubber proteins, glove powder, or rubber accelerators.
The most severe kind of allergic reaction to rubber products occurs immediately and can involve the respiratory system. These reactions can be life-threatening and are caused by sensitisation to natural rubber proteins. It is estimated that up to 17% of personnel in the medical profession have had reactions to these proteins.
However, these proteins can be absorbed onto the cornstarch powder used to make gloves easier to put on and take off. Aerosolised ‘protein-laden’ cornstarch has been identified as a causative agent in occupational asthma, hypersensitive airway, and anaphylaxis in healthcare workers.

Rubber accelerators

A small segment of the population is allergic to rubber accelerators used to process rubber gloves. The accelerators are used in natural rubber, neoprene (Chloroprene), and in more nitrile gloves. There are several types of accelerates including thiurams, carbamates, and mercaptobenzothiazole (MBT). Thiuram accelerators are responsible for about 60% of cases of contact dermatitis from accelerators. Carbamates are responsible for about 30% and thiazoles like MBT account for 1-5% of cases1.

Solutions from Skytec

To help eliminate the risk of Type I life-threatening latex allergy and irritation from rubber accelerators, Skytec has the solution. TX4525 and AX310 are high-performance disposable gloves made from high-quality nitrile that is soft, durable, and contains no natural rubber proteins. The gloves are accelerator-free and powder-free, to reduce allergic reactions and irritation.

Whilst preventing allergic reactions, the Skytec TX4525 and AX310 do not compromise performance. The gloves offer a textured finish for improved grip and touch, a chlorinated inside to offer more comfort and reduce donning friction, and antistatic properties. Ideal for those in chemical handling environments, TX4525 offers outstanding chemical protection, and AX310 is ideal for those in the healthcare and food industries, with medical device compliance and approval for food handling.


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