Compiled by Steve Smith

Added comfort and skin health, flexibility for use in the most critical environments, and powder-free manufacturing are among the biggest factors to consider when purchasing gloves for your contamination-control applications. Here are some of the latest glove products to have been introduced in recent months.

Latex-free disposable

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N-DEX, billed as the first latex-free, nitrile disposable glove, is designed to provide flexible, puncture-resistant hand protection in the cleanroom. Crafted for environments where safety and exacting standards of industrial hygiene are critical, N-DEX is made of a patented, low-modulus formulation to help reduce hand fatigue. Best Manufacturing Menlo, Ga.

Synthetic and triple-layer alternatives

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Cardinal Health's Esteem clean-process synthetic gloves are made of a polyisoprene synthetic rubber that has the look-and-feel of latex without natural rubber latex proteins and allergens. Esteem gloves are designed to offer the comfort and fit of latex plus greater strength and durability than neoprene gloves. The company's Protegrity gloves are triple-layered and powder-free. An outer layer of natural rubber latex provides elasticity and tensile strength, the middle layer is blended nitrile and natural rubber to bond the inner and outer layers, and the inner layer is nitrile for durability and fast-donning. These gloves are especially designed for use in pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device applications. Cardinal Health McGraw Park, Ill.

Class 100 sterile gloves

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A new line of sterile, hand-specific, 12-inch latex and nitrile gloves designed specifically for medical-technical applications are Class 100 rated. All-new packaging features poly wallet and HDPE outer packaging. Designed for easy "double-gloving," with tapered, beaded cuff, the company's gloves are manufactured in a ISO 9001:2000-certified facility and are thoroughly tested for defects before shipping. CT International San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Powder-free nitrile

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Featuring micro-textured fingers for enhanced grip control, these nitrile gloves are powder-free and contain no natural rubber latex. Sizes are small through extra large and available in 9-inch and 12-inch lengths, all cleanroom-packaged and double-bagged. Hutchins & Hutchins Inc. Waynesboro, Va.

Low-particle design

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The VTGNCRB12 cleanroom nitrile glove, according to its manufacturer, is designed with the lowest upper particle limit (less than 750 particles compared to typical tests of 350 particles or less). Other specifications can be found at the company's Web site. Value-Tek Phoenix, Ariz.

Thicker yet flexible

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The Solo Ultra 8 mil 980 disposable glove is designed to provide added protection without compromising comfort or dexterity. The 100-percent nitrile, powder-free glove provides .8 mils of hand and product protection while offering extended (12-inch) length. MAPA AdvanTech Broadview Heights, Ohio

AK-unsupported natural gloves

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The AK-unsupported natural rubber gloves feature 100-percent natural rubber latex for dexterity and elasticity, but with powder-free manufacturing process designed to reduce particulate and extractable contamination. A diamond-embossed palm is designed for sure dry or wet grip. Testing includes IEST-RP-CC05.3 (modified) for particulate and extractables, and ASTM 739 for permeation. All gloves are cleanroom-packaged and double-bagged. North Safety Products Canada Toronto, Ontario

PVC, nitrile varieties

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The Renaissance 12-inch, 100-percent PVC is a 5-mil ambidextrous glove, designed as an alternative to low-cost PVC imported gloves. The White is a 12-inch, 100-percent nitrile for use in the cleanroom as well as for disk drive manufacturing. Designed as an alternative to latex styles, the 5-mil ambidextrous glove offers what the company claims is outstanding chemical/wet characteristics. Oak Technical Stow, Ohio

Nitrile smorgasbord

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Techniglove Class 10 12-inch ambidextrous nitrile gloves are available in three colors to allow coding by size, product, an coded double-gloving. Made with a proprietary Microtexture Formers, the glove is designed for exceptional fit and comfort. The company's X Glove is 9.5 inches and manufactured 8 mils thick to provide extra strength and protection. The fully-textured glove is designed for exceptional grip while offering added protection from abrasion, punctures and tears. In addition, the company's Technipak is billed as the only PVC dispenser box with 5-mil-thick nitrile gloves for use in contamination-control environments. The puncture-resistant gloves come 100 per box (10 boxes per case). Techniglove International Yorba Linda, Calif.