FDA Proposes Ban On Powdered Surgical Gloves

Under a new proposal by the FDA, powdered medical gloves –the kind used in surgery or in exam rooms– would be taken off the market. The Food and Drug Administration says the powder added to some latex gloves can cause breathing problems, wound inflammation, and scar tissue on internal organs when used during surgery.

In late March, the FDA moved to make gloves only the second device to ever be banned by the agency. Federal health officials want to ban most surgical gloves made with powder and have been warning about them for nearly 20 years. While the powder makes them easier to take on and off (and absorbs sweat) it can get into the air and even into surgical openings. Previously, other powders, including Talc were used to coat the inside of surgical gloves but after they were also shown to cause inflammation, they were also done away with. Currently, cornstarch is often used but even that is causing similar problems.

From the article at Stat News:

“This ban is about protecting patients and health care professionals from a danger they might not even be aware of,” said Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, head of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, in a statement. “We take bans very seriously and only take this action when we feel it’s necessary to protect the public health.”

Thankfully, powdered gloves are used much less frequently than they used to be as doctors and nurses opt for synthetic gloves instead. The proposed FDA ban is open to public comment for 90 days, beginning March 21st, 2016.

Source: KHN and Stat News