lab worker using gloves while working

Are Gloves Getting Thinner in a Post Pandemic World?

Due to the pandemic, everyone’s looking for the right kind of PPE and personal gear to keep themselves safe. Some of the most commonly used products are washable soft face masks, hand sanitizers and protective gloves.

Of the many changes that were brought about by the pandemic, a change in the way gloves are produced was probably one of the less shocking and detrimental ones. Manufacturers are producing lighter and thinner nitrile gloves now and customers are wondering why this is happening and whether they should be concerned about this change.


According to the CDC, because of the sudden surge of coronavirus cases, hospitals and clinics all over the US have reached capacity on space and equipment. The increased demand for PPE gear is not being immediately met by an increased supply because of many factors such as price hikes and import complications. This is why the US now has to produce these goods domestically. To meet the need of the hour as quickly as possible, manufacturers have taken the innovative decision to produce nitrile protective gloves at 3 mil. of thickness instead of 5 mil. This helps ease the shortage because now, more gloves can be made from the same amount of raw material than before, and in turn, more of them can be supplied. But is 3 mil. of thickness enough?

A person putting on gloves for protection


The short answer is, no, you don’t need to be worried. There are different kinds of gloves that can potentially protect you from the virus, and this includes plastic gloves as well, which are much thinner than nitrile gloves. Because the main aim of the gloves is protecting you from germs, as long as they are fully intact (no rips) they ought to do the job.

Furthermore, a report by UPenn gives instructions on which kinds of gloves are suitable fir various different activities. It states that nitrile gloves of 3 mil. thickness are suitable for “low hazard solids and residue protection,” which means they’re completely capable of keeping the coronavirus and water droplets off your hands.


Because of the amount that this change in manufacturing has helped ease the shortage of gloves, it seems as though this change could be here to stay. For general protection against the spread of the virus, 3 mil. of thickness in nitrile gloves is more than enough. This means that in terms of the pandemic and protection against it, the new lighter and thinner gloves are a win-win situation.

Now that we’re clear on the kind of gloves you need to stay safe, head on over to Safety 1st PPE to order some for yourself. We stock all kinds of PPE gear so you can stay safe!

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