Nitrile Exam Gloves and Proper Body Substance Isolation - ITS Tactical

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Nitrile Exam Gloves and Proper Body Substance Isolation

By The ITS Crew

NitrileGlovesMainBelieve it or not, there’s more to Nitrile Exam Gloves than you may think.

Nitrile has become synonymous with protective gloves and today we’re going to fill you in on why it’s superior to other rubber and even how to properly remove them after use.

Proper body substance isolation is extremely important when coming in contact with bodily fluids, and personal protective equipment (PPE) like Nitrile gloves is your first line of defense.

Wearing gloves is not only important in protecting against potentially infectious materials, such as blood and body fluids, but also against harsh chemicals and biological risks.


There are a few reasons why Nitrile is so common today in rubber exam gloves, with the main reason being that Nitrile is non-latex. Latex allergies are quite common, and Nitrile rubber has shown to be a great alternative. There are Nitrile allergies too, so it’s best to ensure you’re not at risk for that either before using them.

Nitrile is synthetic rubber, thus not harmful to those with latex allergies. Other reasons that make Nitrile gloves superior are that they’re three times more puncture resistant than natural rubber gloves, more resistant to oils and acids, and can withstand a wider temperature range.

The Nitrile rubber itself can withstand ranges of -104Ëš Fahrenheit to 220Ëš Fahrenheit. Despite Nitrile’s wide range of temperature it’s still best to store them out of direct sunlight and heat, as they’ll degrade faster.

Proper Removal

To keep in line with our body substance isolation policy, there’s a right way and a wrong way to remove gloves. If you’re not concerned with BSI then remove them however you want, but it’s a better idea to get used to removing them one way in all situations so it becomes ingrained. That way, when you are around bodily fluids and blood borne pathogens, you won’t risk exposure by forgetting the proper way to remove your gloves.

The gloves shown in the video below are what we’ve found to be the best Nitrile gloves on the market today, BlackMax. These are the gloves that we use in our ETA Kits, which have tremendous dexterity and a great texture that allows you to pick up a dime on a table.

Here’s a quick video to show you how it’s done:

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  • As “Tacticool” as they may be, the Black Max Nitrile and other black nitrile gloves are useless in my opinion as a first aid glove. When performing a primary (rapid) casualty survey or a secondary casualty survey for unseen injuries, blood does not show up well on these gloves even in daylight, never mind under low light conditions.

    Blue, light green or even OD green are better fror detecting blood/hidden injuries.

    Just my 2 Cents.

    • Patrick Skinner

      I actually never thought of OD green gloves… does anyone actually make those?

    • Liz Bartle

      Tactical Defender by Digitcare make OD green gloves.

    • Patrick, we’ve just switched our ETA Kit gloves to OD Defender T Gloves.

  • I always “double-up” for added protection. Should the outer glove become soiled, damaged etc it is easier to remove the outer glove and replace with a fresh pair.

    • AlteredMentalStatus

      another thought about double gloves….if you have multi-patients than you have layers on… treat one discard gloves already have another set on. Once your hands are wet from sweat, you’ll never get the other pair on…..

  • Thanks for posting the proper removal technique Bryan! I come from a chemistry and first aid background, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reamed out people for removing their gloves improperly. Nitrile’s also a great choice for anyone in a chemistry lab, as they tend to be more unreactive than other polymers.

    I totally agree with Bunyak though, when looking for blood (performing “wet checks”) black gloves are almost useless. They may look good but pale colours will always be a better choice for first aid purposes.

    As for OscarDelta’s comment, I’d have to disagree. It’s my opinion that doubling-up is a poor choice, because it carries the same risk of when people double-up on condoms. The chance of both the gloves tearing/ripping increases with two pairs being worn, and the added protecting is negligible. Not to mention you should never be removing only one pair when they become soiled, you should be completely changing whatever you’re wearing on your hands.

    Great job as always ITS.

  • Whytebredd

    I’ll stand up for Oscar Delta here. An old flight medic told me how he puts on up to 5 or 6 pairs of gloves on an MCI so when he’s going from pt to pt he just takes off the top pair. You wouldn’t do this in a less hectic scenario but it does have useful applications. And the double condom comparison is irrelevant. You don’t double condom because of the risks caused by rubber on rubber friction but just wearing a couple pairs of gloves won’t under do those same conditions under normal conditions.
    Good work on the vid btw.

  • Delta1687

    Great article and very needed for those who don’t use gloves on a regular basis, but one correction. When taking off your second glove, you don’t really want to use your bare-hand to touch the outside of the glove because then you’ve contaminated yourself, especially if you’ve been wrist deep in blood, vomit, or any other body substance. Its better to pinch completely on the inside of the glove and peel it off that way. The old rule of dirty touches dirty and clean touches clean definitely applies here.

    The method you showed is also great for disposing of your trash when you are taking off your gloves because you can grab up all your gauze and alcohol preps into your first hand when you go to peel it off. That way its all inside of the gloves and you won’t have to deal with bloody materials without PPE.

    • Jeffrey

      That’s how .gov USAR, FEMA and most Crisis Management groups are trained to remove gloves. You pinch the top of the glove, turn in inside out, and remove the other glove with the clean inside out glove. That is the best way to prevent cross contamination.

  • waykno

    Having trained folks in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) over the years, many will have “other” views on correctness. However, I can remember the days of all dentists working all day in people’s mouths, 5 days a week with no gloves and they didn’t catch anything–so many variables are possible with no ill effects. Now we want, and properly so, to do things the safe way. Point is—many of the above comments can be performed but which are the approved and accepted protocol? Example: I remove gloves slightly differently but not so much as to find fault with your method. For instance, I pinch and pull w/o putting my thumb into the glove. Previous comments have valid points under certain circumstances. And powder free is better in my opinion. A friend of mine recently had cataract surgery. The doc told him not to listen to his neighbor, relative, friend or anyone else that has had this done as it has changed so much in just the past year and what they tell you is not current. Just listen to me (the doc). I say thumbs up on the vid!

  • Mike

    The slight variation I was taught was to hook the inside of the cuff on the second glove with your forefinger and pull. Once it rolls over you can pinch the doubled over inside if you need to, though I rarely do. As others have pointed out, this avoids touching the outside of a dirty glove with your bare hand.

  • Jeffrey

    If you hook the inside of the cuff with a contaminated glove, you have cross contamination. The only safe way is to pinch the glove at the top of the wrist, and pull the glove inside-out. Once the glove is inside out, the contamination remains on the inside. At this point you can use the inside-out glove (contamination free) to perform the same process at previously mentioned.
    Stand over the sink, and have someone cover both gloves with ketchup – smear all over both gloves. Attempt to remove them the way you were trained,
    and at the end, see if you have any ketchup on your hand or wrist.

  • Jeffrey

    This is a great topic, and thanks to ya’ll for sharing your method and protocol.

    While on the job I wear a pair of Nitrile gloves under my Ringers Barrier 1 Extrication gloves – just in case. If you’re involved with anything above BLS, you might want to consider a pair of extraction gloves to augment your gear.

  • Frank

    I am not a big fan of black BSI gloves.

    I work 4 nights a week as a Paramedic and my EMS coordinator though it would be cool to have black gloves, so he picked up a couple of cases.

    Draw back 1: In low light or no light situations I would some times loss sight of my finger tips. Sort of like wearing NVGS and dealing with the loss of depth perception. You can feel were your hand is but some time seeing were your finger tips end could be challenging. Okay when you do not someone to see your hands, bad when you have needles and jagged metal from MVA;s around.

    2nd body fluid dose not show up well on black in low light,

    So I recommended using light blue gloves if you are planning to work in low vis. Blood and other body fluids stand out better and you will be less likely to put your hand down were it dose not belong.

  • Bass

    Those are the same gloves I use at work everyday, they are much stronger than the normal blue medical gloves we are supplied with and don’t degrade from sweat in ten minutes. And a huge plus one to wearing these or any medical glove under your work/search gloves.

  • Hi,

    Informative post, this is. It is always nice to come across a post that is useful.

  • Ken

    From an LE point of view, black nitrile gloves is easily confused with patrol gloves. Someone with patrol gloves can handle tasks that would tear up nitrile gloves. Simply by looking at the color of gloves alerts you to what task that person is better suited for an only one moment; i.e. brush that glass away versus hold this bandage on this wound.

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