Product story

Providing a mineral barrier against infection

Imerys is supporting medical glove manufacturers to meet increased demand in the healthcare market.

Doctor wearing medical gloves

The need for medical gloves has never been more critical than it is in 2020. Imerys is transforming Ground Calcium Carbonate (GCC) to help rubber glove manufacturers keep up with unprecedented demand.

Every day, hundreds of millions of medical gloves are produced. Now, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the need for this critical supply to reach healthcare workers quickly and provide protection from contamination has never been more urgent.

Malaysia is the world’s largest supplier of rubber gloves, commanding about 61% of the global market. Imerys is the main supplier of GCC in the country and has been producing Carbital N—a liquid form of GCC—for the glove manufacturers since 2003.

These disposable gloves are used mainly for surgical, medical and cleanroom purposes, but also examination and household needs.

A low-cost solution for medical workers

GCC, which is produced from marble, limestone or chalk, is a filler material, comprising up to 40% of the glove. This means less high-priced natural latex is needed than in gloves that don’t use GCC, keeping costs down for the healthcare sector.

Glove producers run rigorous quality control tests to ensure they are fit for their purpose. When added in the correct proportions, GCC can improve tensile strength – meaning greater resistance to tension and stretching. GCC also offers superior tear strength, meaning the gloves are less likely to rip during use, reducing the risk of infection to nurses, doctors and healthcare consultants.

Covid-19 – not to mention other viruses and smaller pandemics – has led to a surge in demand from western and Asian countries.

High-quality rubber gloves were increasing in demand even before the coronavirus outbreak, because of growing awareness of the importance of hygiene. While most of Malaysia has been in lockdown, we have been able to get special approval to run our Carbital N line to produce the raw material for this essential product. We are playing an important role in keeping frontline workers well equipped and safe during this crisis.

Matthew Chua
Plastics market Expert
Carbital N infographic