Vinyl gloves are produced from the granules of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), one of the most common plastics, and plasticizers (mostly phthalates). PVC is rigid plastic but when mixed with phthalates becomes flexible and moldable. Vinyl gloves comply with regulations concerning plastic materials (both for Medical Devices and materials intended for food contact norms), unlike Latex gloves and Nitrile Gloves which comply with Rubber related norms.
Although the development of this kind of glove was mainly due to the absence of natural Latex, the economic aspect was key to its widespread use. The mechanical strength in comparison with Latex and with Nitrile is lower due to the low molecular cohesion and therefore the glove is less elastic and easier to break and to pinholes and less suitable for performances at risk, especially organic fluids risks.
Vinyl gloves containing phthalates, which are classiἀ ed by REACH, can also be used in contact with food (Dir. 2004/195/EEC) except for fatty and alcoholic food because phthalates tend to migrate quickly.