Exam gloves (single use) are designed for use in clinical, medical, and healthcare settings for protection against infection, illness, and chemotherapy agents. They can also be used in some laboratory environments for protection against corrosives, liquids, and gases. Exam gloves are designed to protect against incidental rather than intentional contact with chemicals. Constructed from a variety of materials including latex, nitrile, neoprene, polyvinyl chloride, vinyl, and other polymers, exam gloves and general-purpose industrial gloves are both single-use gloves and are physically very similar. The key difference between these two types of gloves is USFDA certification, which includes required safety testing, product performance testing, and claims substantiation data. Exam gloves are regulated by the USFDA as “Class I reserved medical devices” that require a 510(k) premarket notification. In some cases, additional testing is done to ensure protection when blood, bodily fluids, and biological hazards like bacteria or viruses may be present. Some examples of exam glove eligibility testing include puncture, abrasion, tension, elongation, and chemical substance resistance. Latex allergies, fairly common among many glove users, has prompted the use of non-latex glove materials. Nitrile, a durable synthetic rubber with no latex protein content, is tear- and chemical-resistant and a frequent choice for exam gloves. Exam gloves are generally non-sterile as they are not intended for medical procedures, and are typically packaged in bags or dispenser boxes for easy access. Aside from material, other properties to consider when selecting an exam glove include thickness (mil), finish, tensile strength, elasticity, texture, and aloe inner coating. Exam gloves are offered in a wide array of color and sizes.
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