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Natural Rubber Latex

Gloves containing natural rubber latex provide excellent protection against the transmission of infectious agents and are an integral part of healthcare practice. However, natural rubber latex gloves have been associated with skin irritation in some users.

Chemical Accelerators

While allergic reactions and skin irritations may be a response to the natural rubber latex from which the glove is made, they may also be caused by chemical accelerators and other sensitising substances used in the manufacturing process.5 Diphenylguanidine (DPG) is a chemical accelerator used in glove manufacture. Chemical accelerators, like DPG, are the primary cause of contact dermatitis (type IV response).

The most common types of chemical accelerators used in the medical glove manufacturing process. show info.

Glove Powder

Historically, powder has been used as a lubricant in the manufacture of medical gloves in order to facilitate donning and to avoid blocking of the glove. Exposure to starch powder from both surgical and examination gloves can cause a number of undesirable reactions.

For more detailed information about the complications associated with glove powder, click here.

Other Causes of Sensitivity

In addition to natural rubber latex and chemical accelerators contained in both natural rubber latex and natural rubber latex-free gloves, an adverse reaction may actually be in response to the use of soaps, hand scrubs and abrasive hand towels, or caused by other substances such as:

  • Lanolin - Used as a glove softener by some other manufacturers (NOT used in Ansell products)
  • Polyoxypropyleneglycol - A coagulant used in the glove manufacture process (NOT used in Ansell products)
  • Colouring pigments, either organic or inorganic
  • Quaternary ammonium compounds
  • Antioxidants which are used to prevent the degradation of Natural Rubber Latex products
  • Preservatives

Types of Reactions

The four major types of adverse skin reactions associated with natural rubber latex glove use are:

  • Immediate hypersensitivity (Type I or natural rubber latex allergy) show info
  • Delayed hypersensitivity (Type IV or contact dermatitis) show info
  • Irritant contact dermatitis show info
  • Glove powder irritations show info

Download: Chemical Accelerators in Ansell Gloves
Learn more about the health risks associated with powdered glove use. Download a copy of the AnsellCares: Hazards of Powdered Gloves brochure.
Download a copy of Ansell’s Natural Rubber Latex Allergy Management Guide.

Additional Information and Resources About Adverse Skin Reactions
Learn more about Ansell’s efforts to minimise the allergenicity of their gloves.

Need Expert Advice?
Contact Ansell about an allergy or sensitivity you are experiencing