Health care/social assistance Health Care Workers

Citing allergy risks, FDA proposes ban on powdered medical gloves

exam gloves

Photo: mbbirdy/iStockphoto

Washington – The Food and Drug Administration has proposed banning powdered surgical gloves, powdered patient examination gloves and absorbable powder for lubricating surgical gloves in an effort to protect health care workers and patients from potentially fatal allergic reactions and other health problems.

FDA states in a proposal published in the March 22 Federal Register that the powdered gloves and powder “present an unreasonable and substantial risk of illness or injury” that new or altered labeling would be unable to fix or eliminate.

The gloves are used to shield health care workers and patients from infectious diseases and contaminants. However, the powder can cause allergic reactions, lung inflammation, adhesions and possibly even death in some people, FDA states.

Powder has commonly been used to make gloves easier to put on and take off, but it can transmit latex material on latex gloves, potentially exposing latex-sensitive medical workers to enough latex to develop an allergy, according to the proposal. The powder also can affect other individuals, including other health care workers, when it becomes airborne and is inhaled, FDA adds in the proposal.

Comments on the proposal are due June 20.

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