Powdered gloves? FDA says, 'Throw them out!'


The agency says the powder can cause "severe airway inflammation, hypersensitivity reactions and allergic reactions."

Every practitioner and technician has a preference about disposable gloves, but the FDA says if you like the powdered variety for ease of donning, you're out. (Shutterstock.com)Dig through your veterinary practice cabinets. Run your hand over the top of your fridge if you keep boxes of inventory there (and don't lie, you know everyone does sometimes). Check your drawers.

Now throw out any and all boxes of powdered gloves. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned them and is ordering you and everybody to dispose of them “at domestic manufacturing and distribution locations … and unused supplies at hospitals, outpatient centers, clinics [and] medical and dental offices.” Why?

The [FDA] has determined that powdered surgeon's gloves, powdered patient examination gloves and absorbable powder for lubricating a surgeon's glove present an unreasonable and substantial risk of illness or injury and that the risk cannot be corrected or eliminated by labeling or a change in labeling. Consequently, FDA is banning these devices.

In its official ruling, the FDA addresses worries about the ban that came in during the comment period. For instance, any difficulty of doctors and team members donning nonpowdered gloves was offset, the FDA said, by the problem of the glove powder, in some instances, causing "severe airway inflammation, hypersensitivity reactions and allergic reactions." The FDA also didn't find signs that nonpowdered gloves were more prone to tearing. It also rejected claims that donning nonpowdered gloves reduced the "tactile sensation" necessary for some procedures.

Is there a significant cost difference between powdered and nonpowdered? The FDA says no: "Extensive searches of glove distributor pricing indicate that improvements to non-powdered gloves have made these products as affordable as powdered gloves."

If you want a deeper dive into the ban, head straight to the Federal Register.

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