Shortage of Nitrile Leaves Glove Customers to Rely on Vinyl

Nitrile butadiene rubber is in short supply the world over, making nitrile gloves both expensive and difficult to obtain.

Nitrile butadiene rubber is in short supply the world over, making nitrile gloves both expensive and difficult to obtain.

Nearly a year since the first cases of COVID-19 appeared in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the world is still reeling from the pandemic’s effects.

Global cases are in the tens of millions, with deaths over a million. In the U.S., the virus is proliferating. Economies continue to sputter. Still, we may not have yet seen the worst of COVID’s impact on society and the disposable glove marketplace in particular.

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Disposable Glove Supply Shortage Keeping Prices High

In these times of soaring prices, vinyl disposable gloves offer great value in both medical and industrial applications.

Average sales prices of disposable gloves, regardless of material type—nitrile, latex, and vinyl—are going up. Shortages of raw materials also constrain latex and nitrile production, which puts additional pressure on pricing.

The increased need for gloves worldwide continues to drive demand, due to both the COVID-19 pandemic and a greater general awareness of health, safety, and hygiene. Glove manufacturing’s inherent limitations—raw materials, labor, and capacity shortages—constrain supply.

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Best Disposable Gloves for the Automotive Industry

Let’s face it: Working on cars (and trucks) is not kind to technicians’ hands.

As recently as a decade ago, techs routinely exposed their most valuable commodity to cuts, bruises, burns, and dangerous chemicals on a daily basis.

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Steve Godziszewski, an auto-body repair veteran of four decades, tells Automotive News how he never wore disposable gloves—until one day he caught his left hand on a battery cable and tore off a fingernail. He bandaged it and went back to work, but soon it was infected and doctors eventually had to remove part of his finger.

Now, he says, he sees younger techs wearing gloves full time.

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Hazards in the Automotive Industry: Auto Shop Chemicals

Randy Bigness worked as an auto mechanic for years without much concern for his health. He was frequently fatigued, but he figured most mechanics got tired from working hard. Getting sick often also seemed like a common consequence of the profession he was in. It wasn’t until he started to develop more severe infections and his body started refusing antibiotics for treatment that he thought something else might be wrong.

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