WASHINGTON (April 27, 2011)—Surgical and patient examination gloves made of natural rubber latex or powdered with cornstarch should be banned, according to a consumer advocacy group.
The gloves and those with powdered cornstarch pose an unacceptable health risk to patients and health care workers and must be banned, Public Citizen said in a petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“For health care workers, the major risk posed by the gloves is allergic reactions to latex, some of which can be serious or life-threatening,” Public Citizen said in a press release. “For patients, the danger is also grave. Patients can experience the same types of allergic reactions that occur in health care workers. Also, when cornstarch is deposited in tissues during surgery, it can promote infections, delay healing and cause inflammation, among other injuries.”
Public Citizen first petitioned the FDA for a latex and powder ban for medical gloves in 1998, the group noted. The next year the agency required warning labels and other special controls on gloves, a response Public Citizen said was inadequate.
Germany banned powdered latex gloves in 1998, and by 2002 the number of suspected latex allergy cases in that country fell by 80 percent, Public Citizen said