by Jim Finn, Akron Dispersions
The federal government, particularly the Defense Logistics Agency, recently indicated that its objective is to support the annual U.S. production of 50 billion nitrile gloves to satisfy the most critical U.S. medical PPE requirement. This quantity, while seemingly significant, represents about 11% of the examination gloves produced globally, and 30% of the gloves used in the U.S.
There are more than a handful of glove companies intending to contribute to the satisfaction of this government objective. The polymer designated for the gloves will be acrylonitrile butadiene latex, or nitrile latex. To produce 50 billion gloves, it will take approximately 1.1 billion pounds of nitrile latex. The U.S. presently has limited capability to manufacture nitrile latex. Most of this latex would be manufactured in Korea, Malaysia, Italy and Brazil.