Latex-Allergy Organization Recommends Many New Nonlatex Gloves as Safety Tools

Barbara Zucker-Pinchoff, MD

Latex-Allergy Organization Recommends Many New Nonlatex Gloves as Safety Tools

To The Editor: I was so pleased to see the excellent article on latex allergy by Dr. Arnold Berry in the Fall 1999 Newsletter.1

I only wish to expand upon the paragraph concerning alternatives to high protein, powdered latex gloves. The paragraph discusses the advantages and disadvantages of chlorinated NRL gloves. It then goes on to mention “Other alternatives to NRL…” but only mentions vinyl. Vinyl indeed has many drawbacks as an alternative to latex. Fortunately, there are many gloves made of other non-latex materials available today. These include nitrile, styrene butadiene, and neoprene, to name just a few. Most glove manufacturers now produce at least one line of non-latex gloves. I urge everyone to try these gloves. Many have excellent tactile and physical properties. Yes, most of these gloves are more expensive than latex. But as the excellent article by Phillips, et al.2 points out, this cost is more than counterbalanced by the cost of continuing to disable healthcare personnel by ongoing exposure to latex allergens. In addition, if we are truly concerned about patient safety, we must stop exposing our patients to this potentially deadly allergen.

Barbara Zucker-Pinchoff, MD ( Director, Physicians Against Latex Sensitization New York, NY

References 1. Berry AJ. Latex Allergy: A Problem for Patients and Personnel. APSF Newsletter 1999;14:33. 2. Phillips VL, Goodrich MA, Sullivan TJ. Am J of Public Health 1999;89:1024-1028.