Donning Powder & Glove Allergies

How is powder linked to latex allergy?

While the cornstarch powder does not contain the proteins to produce a reaction, it may carry airborne protein residue from the glove thereby increasing the potential for a reaction in individuals with latex related allergies and sensitivity. In experiments and clinical studies, it has also been suggested that donning powder can increase the potential for infections and foreign body reactions. There is also limited information that indicates that the cornstarch donning powder could be a contributing factor in developing the latex allergy and acting as a skin irritant.

What alternatives are available to cornstarch donning powder?

Chlorination

In this procedure, chlorine ions react with the latex surface and reduce the clingy nature of the latex making the dusting powder obsolete. Additionally, another benefit that this washing process provides is removing some of the allergenic latex proteins. A downside to this method is that the chlorination will inhibit some of the physical properties of the glove, such as durability, shelf-life, grip. Other side-effects include potential odor and skin irritants.

Synthetic Polymer Lining

In this substitute, a smooth lining is applied to the inside of the glove that makes it easier to don it. This lining may be constructed of hydrogel, silicone or other polymers that are physically bonded to the latex, nitrile, and other glove materials. Friction is reduced by the liner, and facilitates donning the glove either with dry or wet hands.

Is powder an allergy concern with non-latex gloves?

Powder is not an allergy concern with non-latex gloves such as nitrile or vinyl, however allergies do exist for these materials.