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The dangers of glove powder

Discussion in 'General Issues and Discussion Forum' started by footsiegirl, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. footsiegirl

    footsiegirl Active Member

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    Hi all,
    I came across a useful article by the Royal College of Nursing, regarding the use of powdered surgical gloves, and in particular the use of powdered latex gloves. For those of you out there still using such gloves, the article is worth a read.

    The document identified the dangers of talc inside procedural gloves, and stated that concerns led to corn starch being used instead.

    However, there have been reported cases of granulomas forming after surgery, being caused by the use of corn starch in gloves, in addition to delayed wound healing, the promotion of bacterial growth and adhesions.

    With latex gloves, the powder is thought to bind with the latex protein to form an airborne allergen, when the gloves are applied and removed. The powder can then be inhaled by not only the user but the patient and any one else in the near vicinity. The dust produced can also settle on furniture and other surfaces, which may be touched by individuals; presenting an increased risk of latex induced allergy to who ever comes into contact with it, and this can produce an adverse reaction in someone who has been sensitised to the substance.

    The use of latex gloves is fast becoming obsolete , but with private practitioners on the increase, it is evident that the use of powdered (and powdered latex) gloves can still be obtained from a variety of sources. Additionally, there may still be some NHS departments which have such gloves in use. It is therefore vital to inform practitioners so that they can influence change in their workplace/practice. The RCN offers the following advice to individuals who work in an environment where powdered /latex gloves are supplied for use :

    ‘Your employer is required to provide you with suitable personal protective equipment, and you should request latex gloves that are powder-free - your right to these is protected by health and safety legislation. Latex gloves should contain only very low levels of protein and accelerators - glove suppliers can provide you with information about the protein in their products.’ Extracted from RCN online document The Dangers of Glove Powder RCN 2009


    Naturally, all practitioners should look at their policies and procedures laid down by their membership body, but should not be afraid to highlight concerns to their employer/membership body, if it does not take into account latest research into glove use...?
  2. footsiegirl

    footsiegirl Active Member

    I apologise, I didnt realise that if any of you click on the rcn link in my earlier post, that you wont be able to view the document unless you are an RCN member. However, i did precis the article well, and I dont think I left anything vital out. I will do a bit more investigation to see if I can find an article which is accessible to Arena members
  3. footsiegirl

    footsiegirl Active Member

  4. brevis

    brevis Active Member

    My hands are terribly sensitive to the horrid things!
  5. David Widdowson

    David Widdowson Active Member

    Thats all very well but if they don't have powder in them, and I try to put them on, I look like I should be in a Mr Bean sketch.
    Life used to be so simple!
  6. footsiegirl

    footsiegirl Active Member

    ypu don't mean you have your head inside a turkey's bottom?! :D
  7. David Widdowson

    David Widdowson Active Member

    If you saw me trying to to get a non-powder glove on, you may think head up a turkey's bottom would be a damn site quicker and easier!
  8. footsiegirl

    footsiegirl Active Member

    that conjurs up a rather unsavoury image! lol
    oddly enough Bean is on now on ITV 3
  9. Sarah B

    Sarah B Active Member

    There has been a massive move away from latex generally in the NHS, due to the risk of developing an allergy on repeated exposure. Before I left in 2009 a number of Trusts had already banned the use of latex products by staff in order to eliminate the allergy risk.

    Powdered latex gloves were removed from order lists by most NHS Trusts a long time ago (i.e. over 7 years). This I know as I have a hypersensitivity response to powdered latex gloves, & remember that my employer decided to get rid of them completely because so many people developed skin irritation.

    The key to powder-free glove donning is to ensure that hands are thoroughly dried before putting them on. This also reduces the growth of microorganisms beneath the gloves & reduces the risk of dermatitis.

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