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How Gloves are made: The role of chemical accelerators

Chemicals are used in the manufacture of latex and synthetic gloves. For latex, chemicals transform the raw liquid material into a very thin, strong and elastic film. Accelerators are chemicals used in the manufacturing process to increase the binding speed between sulphur and the glove material. Sulphur is used to assist bonding of the glove material to form a product with superior stretch and recoil. It also adds strength to the glove, giving integrity to the latex during use, and stabilising the latex for long term storage.

Three main classes of chemical compounds are used as accelerators: thiurams, dithiocarbamates and mercaptobenzothiazoles (MBTs). Some residual accelerators can be a source of skin irritation.

For more information please click here to visit Allergies and Sensitivies section on the Ansell Medical website.

How Ansell is working to reduce glove allergenicity

Ansell is committed to reducing glove allergenicity at every stage of the manufacturing process. High quality procedures ensure that residual protein levels are reduced at each step of production, from the initial preparation of the raw latex to the use of PEARL (Protein and Endogenous Allergen Reduction Leaching) technology when necessary.

Ansell is also working to reduce glove allergenicity by continually refining its use of chemical accelerators. Different accelerator types, concentrations and processes are being used in manufacture to develop the best glove product possible.

In applying the latest innovations in manufacture technology, Ansell offers a variety of alternatives within its glove range:

  • Powderfree latex, providing reduced abrasion and allergen carrier risk;
  • Synthetic alternatives such as polychloroprene, nitrile and other materials currently in development;
  • PV100 as a chemical accelerator, which breaks down to CO₂, N₂ and H₂O;
  • Thiuram-free formulations;
  • Continual latex formulation improvements; and
  • Research into gamma irradiation cross-linking in the vulcanisation process.

Source: Latex Allergy Management, Section 4 Glove Manufacture, Ansell Cares, p14 - 17