Use of Latex Gloves in the Medical Industry

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In order to prevent the contamination between the patient and the caregiver, medical gloves are widely used in hospitals as well as treatment centers. These kinds of disposable gloves are manufactured using different polymers which may include neoprene, nitrile, latex, vinyl and rubber. For easiness of use they come either powdered or un-powdered along with corn starch so as to lubricate these gloves and thereby making it easier for the user. Basically, there are two different kinds of gloves: surgical and exam gloves. The surgical gloves require high standards and hence they come with better sensitivity and precision.

It is found recently that people are more prone to latex allergy and the glove manufacturers have now turned to non-latex materials like rubber, vinyl, neoprene, and nitrile. Even though the manufacturers have started manufacturing the non-latex materials, they have not yet replaced the latex gloves in the market due to the lack of control and sensitivity which the latex glove will provide. Hence chemical processes are being employed to minimize the content of the antigenic proteins in the making of Hevea latex which results in the alternative rubber-based natural materials like the Vytex Rubber Latex.

Since isoprene is having the similar chemical structure as that of the natural rubber latex, they are used in the manufacture of high grade gloves. However, when compared with the natural rubber materials, they are a bit costlier. There are also other advantages for the usage of non-latex gloves in medical centers or in any of the clinics. Surgeons, healthcare professionals, caregivers, catheter users, lab technicians, Dentists, rescue workers, pharmacists, manicurists, police officers etc are those who frequently wear these gloves.

Medical clean rooms are always equipped with gloves which are devoid of powder. It was in 1964 that the first latex medical glove came into market and was manufactured by Ansell. It is found that, these kinds of gloves are often used in criminal activities but due to the thinness of the material, finger prints can pass through making the glove prints. Police were able to trace the criminals using these glove prints.

The in-famous Watergate burglary is a classic example for the above stated criminal activity. The usage of non-latex gloves is found to be much safer as it will help the surgeon by alerting them when they get breached. Non latex gloves used for surgical procedures have less tensile strength than surgical gloves; hence it would be easy for the surgeon to change the gloves.


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