FDA bans use of powdered gloves in health care

Dentists, physicians and other health care professionals will no longer be allowed to use powdered gloves when treating patients, per a rule finalized Dec. 16 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

First proposed in March 2016, the rule, which takes effect Jan. 18, prohibits the manufacturing, sale, distribution and use of (1) powdered surgeon’s gloves, (2) powdered patient examination gloves and (3) absorbable powder used to lubricate surgeon’s gloves because “they pose an unreasonable and substantial risk of illness or injury to health care providers, patients and other individuals who are exposed to them.”

Powder is added to gloves to make it easier to put them on and remove them, but this powder is associated with an extensive list of potentially serious events, including airway inflammation, wound inflammation and post-surgical adhesions, according to the FDA. The agency reasserted that nonpowdered alternatives to powdered gloves provide similar protection, dexterity and performance, but “without any of the risks associated with powdered gloves.”

Read a summary of the rule.

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