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  Table of Contents     
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 63  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 206

Powdered gloves: Time to bid adieu

1 Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, IPGME and R and SSKM Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
2 Department of Cardiology, IPGME and R and SSKM Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Date of Web Publication10-Jul-2017

Correspondence Address:
R Agarwal
Department of Cardiology, IPGME and R and SSKM Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jpgm.JPGM_80_17

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How to cite this article:
Baid R, Agarwal R. Powdered gloves: Time to bid adieu. J Postgrad Med 2017;63:206

How to cite this URL:
Baid R, Agarwal R. Powdered gloves: Time to bid adieu. J Postgrad Med [serial online] 2017 [cited 2023 Nov 28];63:206. Available from:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finalized a rule banning the use of powdered gloves in medical and surgical practice. It is very rare for FDA to issue a medical device ban. The ban was proposed in March 2016 and in the words of Jeffrey Shuren, Director of FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, it was about “protecting patients and health care professionals from a danger they might not even be aware of.” The United Kingdom and Germany had banned cornstarch powder on medical gloves long back.[1]

The cornstarch powder promotes wound infection, peritoneal adhesions and granulomatous peritonitis, and latex allergy.[2] As early as 1994, it was shown that use of powdered gloves increased adhesions formed in the abdominal cavity in animal models.[3] At the same time, glove powder was shown to lead to increased adhesion and growth of tumor cells.[4] In fact, starch particles can migrate from vagina to abdominal cavity and lead to postoperative adhesions in animal models.[5]

The glove cornstarch has documented detrimental effects on wound closure techniques and potentiates wound infection. Powdered gloves have been shown to have higher natural rubber latex proteins compared to nonpowdered gloves.[6] These powders can cause life-threatening allergic reaction in sensitized patients and pose a risk to both patients and healthcare workers who use them.[2],[3],[6] Long-term results and success of clinical procedures in dentistry have been shown to be adversely affected by their use as well.[7]

It's high time the Indian medical fraternity takes its stand on the use of powdered gloves with countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, and now, the United States rallying against their use. With good powder-free alternatives available, justification for the use of powdered gloves cannot be made. Use of such alternatives will go a long way in ensuring both patients' and surgeons' health and provision of quality health care.

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There are no conflicts of interest.

 :: References Top

Edlich RF, Long WB 3rd, Gubler DK, Rodeheaver GT, Thacker JG, Borel L, et al. Dangers of cornstarch powder on medical gloves: Seeking a solution. Ann Plast Surg 2009;63:111-5.  Back to cited text no. 1
Edlich RF, Long WB 3rd, Gubler KD, Rodeheaver GT, Thacker JG, Borel L, et al. Citizen's petition to Food and Drug Administration to ban cornstarch powder on medical gloves: Maltese cross birefringence. Am J Emerg Med 2009;27:227-35.  Back to cited text no. 2
Holmadhl L, al-Jabreen M, Xia G, Risberg B. The impact of starch-powdered gloves on the formation of adhesions in rats. Eur J Surg 1994;160:257-61.  Back to cited text no. 3
van den Tol MP, Haverlag R, van Rossen ME, Bonthuis F, Marquet RL, Jeekel J. Glove powder promotes adhesion formation and facilitates tumour cell adhesion and growth. Br J Surg 2001;88:1258-63.  Back to cited text no. 4
Sjösten AC, Ellis H, Edelstam GA. Post-operative consequences of glove powder used pre-operatively in the vagina in the rabbit model. Hum Reprod 2000;15:1573-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
Koh D, Ng V, Leow YH, Goh CL. A study of natural rubber latex allergens in gloves used by healthcare workers in Singapore. Br J Dermatol 2005;153:954-9.  Back to cited text no. 6
Field EA. The use of powdered gloves in dental practice: A cause for concern? J Dent 1997;25:209-14.  Back to cited text no. 7

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2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
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