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Powder Free Latex Gloves

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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In order to reduce the risk of developing allergies, powder free latex gloves have mostly replaced powdered latex gloves in the workplace. Until recently, powdered gloves were preferred for their ease of donning. Nowadays, however, most latex gloves that are available in the U.S. are powerless.

The powder once included in latex gloves is just a modified cornstarch powder, and is not, by itself, dangerous to too many people. It has proven to be, however, an agent for transmitting natural latex rubber proteins to the glove-wearer's skin. In the last ten years, the number of reported allergies to latex gloves has increased dramatically, and many of those cases can be traced back to allergies developed during periods of frequent latex glove use.

How Powder Free Latex Gloves Can Slow Allergy Development

Typically, serious latex allergies develop after periods of low-intensity superficial reactions called type-4 reactions. Type-4 reactions may affect the area of skin that has been directly exposed to the allergen, in this case, the hands. In many cases, the latex proteins carried by the cornstarch powder can easily invade damaged skin, such as skin suffering from a type-4 reaction.

Powder free latex gloves help reduce the risk of developing a latex allergy by eliminating the possibility of that transmission. Latex proteins are not transmitted to skin as easily without a powerful agent like cornstarch powder. Developing a more serious type-1 reaction is still possible, even when using powder free latex gloves however, so caution is advised.


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