The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a proposal to ban most powdered gloves in the United States. While use of these gloves is decreasing, they pose an unreasonable and substantial risk of illness or injury to health care providers, patients and other individuals who are exposed to them, which cannot be corrected through new or updated labeling.
The proposed ban applies to powdered surgeon’s gloves, powdered patient examination gloves and absorbable powder for lubricating a surgeon’s glove.
Powder is sometimes added to gloves to help make it easier to put them on and take them off; however, powdered gloves are dangerous for a variety of reasons. In particular, aerosolized glove powder on natural rubber latex gloves, but not on synthetic powdered gloves, can carry proteins that may cause respiratory allergic reactions.
Although powdered synthetic gloves do not present the risk of allergic reactions, these devices are associated with an extensive list of potentially serious adverse events, including severe airway inflammation, wound inflammation, and post-surgical adhesions, which are bands of fibrous scar tissue that form between internal organs and tissues. These side effects have been attributed to the use of glove powder with all types of gloves.
As these risks cannot be corrected through new or updated labeling, the FDA is moving forward with the proposal to ban these products, which – if finalized – would ultimately remove them from the marketplace completely.