ERJ staff report (DS)
Washington, DC -- Malaysia's Rubber Export Promotion Council (MREPC) has said the recent move by The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System to eliminate latex gloves is unnecessary.
"Johns Hopkins is spending precious health care dollars to fix something that isn't broken, and hasn't been broken since new manufacturing techniques in the late 1990's and early 2000's revolutionised the way latex gloves are made," said Dr. Esah Yip, director of MREPC's Washington, DC office.
In a statement, MREPC said, "dozens of studies over the last decade also have shown that natural rubber latex gloves are superior to synthetic alternatives in terms of barrier protection, tactile feel, and environmental safety. In fact, a recent study funded by the US Centers for Disease Control and National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found that the latex gloves' leakage rate (5.6%) was much lower than surgical gloves made of Nitrile (9.3%) or Polychloroprene /Neoprene (7.4%). As for examination gloves such as Vinyl, numerous studies have already demonstrated their vastly inferior barrier capability, especially compared to latex. "
â€œJohns Hopkins' decision seems to be out of step with the rest of the country and is based on old data that no longer applies, rather than on data from the new class of low protein latex gloves available today,â€ Yip said. "Allergy issues should be overcome not by banning latex gloves, but by adopting the policy of using only the low-protein, low-powder or powder-free latex gloves (and quality non-latex gloves for the allergic individuals and patients) as has already been done by hospitals in the US, Germany and Finland. As a matter of fact, such policy is consistent with the recommendation by Dr. Robert Hamilton at Hopkins Hospital and his co-workers, as reported in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2002; 109:31-34," Dr. Yip says. "There is no evidence that anaphylactic shock has ever occurred with today's low-protein, low or powder-free latex gloves.â€ she adds.
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Website of MREPC in the US