LA VERNE, Calif.—A young manufacturer is joining the effort to increase the domestic supply of nitrile gloves in the U.S. after receiving a $96.1 million contract from the U.S. Departments of Defense and Health and Human Services.
With the federal support, United Safety Technology Inc. is slated to increase the domestic production of nitrile gloves in the U.S. by 216 million units per month by February 2023, according to a news release from the DOD.
Dan Izhaky, UST CEO and founder of the La Verne, Calif.-based manufacturing company, said the firm already has "accomplished a huge amount" toward this goal with a site located for the nitrile gloves plant, dipping line technology designed, prototype testing underway and the request for Food and Drug Administration approval submitted.
He did not disclose the location of the nitrile glove plant.
UST was founded in April 2020 to produce domestic N95 respirator masks in direct response to personal protective equipment shortages at the start of the global coronavirus pandemic. Izhaky said he saw firsthand the risks of relying on overseas PPE suppliers, noting lower quality equipment, shipment delays and redirections.
At its start, the company was producing 300,000 respirator masks per day and was on track to produce 1 million per day by the end of the first quarter of 2021, according to the company's website.
Izhaky said demand dropped off, however, as masks became "politicized" and hospitals were no longer experiencing shortages. UST has since laid off the mask production, keeping the plant on standby—but ready when needed. It is now switching gears to nitrile gloves.
It would take UST about one month to ramp up to full production of masks, about 500,000 per day, should the need arise, he noted. As for the nitrile gloves, he said UST is on pace to get its first line of gloves produced by February 2023.
Washington, D.C.-based EverGlade Consulting assisted UST with securing the contract.
"This effort was led by the DOD's Defense Assisted Acquisition in coordination with the Department of the Air Force's Acquisition COVID-19 Task Force (DAF ACT)," the consulting firm said in a news release. "HHS' Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) funded this effort through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act to support industrial base expansion for critical medical resources."
According to HHS, Congress used funding under Title 3 of the Defense Production Act to support domestically produced PPE efforts, "and the (Biden) administration directed the domestic expansion of the industrial base to support national and global demand and make sure the U.S. is prepared for future pandemics."