All about Gloves - Latex and Non-Latex
Porcelain moulds are coated with a coagulating salt and then dipped in a vulcanized latex concentrate. After drying, the gloves are washed, coated with lubricating powder and pulled off the mould.
Allergenicity of latex gloves is related to both the quantity, and the type of protein antigens they contain. Allergenicity can be suppressed by washing and steam sterilising the gloves during manufacture.
Cornstarch powder is the most common lubricant and is associated with reactions due to the adsorption of antigens to the cornstarch particles, producing aerosolized latex antigen. Powder-free gloves are less allergenic. Note that the powder itself does not cause allergy.
"Hypoallergenic" gloves are usually made from latex and should not be used to manage latex-allergic patients. There is no standard for "hypoallergenic" latex gloves, which are often mistakenly assumed to be non-latex. Read the labelling carefully!
When managing latex-allergic patients, non-latex gloves made of synthetic rubber must be substituted for latex-containing gloves.
This is a list of gloves that, according to the manufacturers, do not contain latex:
NAME MATERIAL PRODUCER Dermapren Neoprene Ansell, Inc. (Dothan, Ala.) Elastyren Styrene butadiene Hermal Pharmaceutical Labs, Inc Flexam Polyvinylchloride Baxter (Chicago, Ill) Neolon Neoprene Becton-Dickinson (Rutherford, NJ) SensiCare Polyvinylchloride Becton-Dickinson (Rutherford, NJ) Tactylon Styrene ethylene butylene SmartPractice (Phoenix, Ariz) TruTouch Polyvinlychloride Becton-Dickinson Vinylite Polyvinylchloride SmartPractice
NOTE that these gloves are not as comfortable to work with as latex gloves - they are less elastic, more difficult to put on and take off and do not breathe well. But the FDA imposes the same quality control standards on gloves regardless of manufacture material.