From Dr. Mercola:
The use of powdered medical gloves is on the decline, but they may soon become a thing of the past.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a proposal to ban most powdered gloves in the U.S., stating they “pose an unreasonable and substantial risk of illness or injury to health care providers, patients and other individuals who are exposed to them.”1
The issue cannot be corrected through new or updated labeling, hence the suggested ban. Powder is sometimes added to medical gloves because it makes them easier to take on and off — hardly a justifiable reason to put even one person at risk.
Powdered Gloves May Cause Allergic Reactions, Inflammation and More
A number of health risks have been linked to powdered medical gloves. When powder is added to natural rubber latex gloves, in particular, it may carry proteins that can cause respiratory allergic reactions when aerosolized and inhaled.2
Powdered synthetic gloves do not pose this risk of allergic reaction, but they (and the use of glove powder with any type of glove) are associated with other risks including:
Severe airway inflammation Wound inflammation Post-surgical adhesions (fibrous scar tissue that forms between internal organs and tissues)
The problems occur when the powder from the gloves gets into the air, wounds or surgical openings. Inhaling glove powder has been linked to an increased risk of asthma and an increased risk of developing allergies such as latex allergy.
In people with latex allergy, inhaling the dust, which may contain allergenic proteins, may cause an allergic reaction. In addition, when the dust gets into wounds it can delay healing and cause other adverse reactions.
Powdered Glove Ban to Have Little Economic or Practical Impact
Medical gloves are an integral part of modern-day medicine, so as part of its analysis the FDA wanted to be sure the ban would not lead to a glove shortage. This is unlikely, since there are already many non-powdered glove options available.
An economic analysis also showed that a powdered glove ban would have no significant economic impact. The proposed ban would apply to powdered surgeon’s gloves, powdered patient examination gloves and absorbable powder for lubricating a surgeon’s glove.
If the proposed ban passes, which appears likely, it would be only the second time the FDA has banned a medical device (the other was prosthetic hair fibers, which were banned in 1983).3
FDA Has Known About Risks of Powdered Gloves for Years
In 2008 and 2009, the FDA received two citizen petitions requesting the FDA ban powdered surgeon’s gloves and patient examination gloves.4
At the time, they noted that the petitions raised legitimate concerns about the use of powdered gloves, but said they still needed to consider the risks in light of any benefits, such as if the powdered gloves offered unique benefits in performing certain procedures.
In 2011, the FDA issued a public notice and requests for comment regarding the issue, and noted that in the meatime “the risks