Comparative Barrier Performance

SMG gloves, like other natural rubber latex gloves, have superior barrier properties as shown by the following studies:

Author Failure Rates (%)
  Natural Rubber Vinyl
Korniewicz (1990) 7 63
Korniewicz (2002) 2.2 8.2
Klein (1990) <1a 22a
<1b 56b
Olsen (1993) 4.2-7.9c 43
Douglas (1997) 1.1c 25-32d
Rego (1997) 0-4  26-61d
Kerr (FDA) 2004 4-10c 38c
9-17f 33f


a No alcohol pretreatment    b Pretreatment with 70% alcohol    c NR Latex powder-free    d Standard vinyl    

e Stretch vinyl    f Powdered gloves


The studies show:

  • Latex gloves are superior to vinyl gloves in barrier performance against viral transmission.
  • Failure rates of vinyl are more pronounced under in-use conditions.



Natural Rubber Latex Gloves: The Barrier of Choice

  • It has been demonstrated that natural rubber latex is preferred to vinyl for more effective and durable barrier qualities.
  • Natural rubber latex is pliable, allowing for natural molding for more appropriate fit and has the ability to reseal when  tinypunctures occur.
  • Gloves made from materials other than natural rubber latex (e.g. synthetic rubbers of other synthetic polymers) are available, but none possess the unique mix of properties (high elasticity and tensile strength, excellent film-forming characteristics) found in natural rubber latex gloves.
  • Gloves made from some of these alternative materials, such as plasticized PVC, include high levels of chemical additives which may cause skin irritation and/or allergic reactions.
  • Natural rubber latex is still the barrier of choice in the US.

(Source: FDA Medical Glove Powder Report, September 1997)

  • Healthcare workers consider latex gloves the barrier of choice against blood borne pathogens, e.g. HIV and Hepatitis B.
  • Able to conform to the shape of the wearer's hand, latex gloves stretch to five times their original size without tearing.
  • Latex gloves don't interfere with the sensitivity or fine manual dexterity required in medical procedures and provide a better fit and are more durable than their vinyl counterparts which lose their barrier effectiveness during the first 15 minutes of use.

(Source: Press Release, American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), May 16, 2002)