Muto and associates present an elegant and simple study of water leakage rates as a function of latex content among FDA-approved sterile and nonsterile gloves. They demonstrated consistent superior performance of both high-latex surgical and examination gloves, and wide variability in water leakage rates of low-latex and nonlatex surgical gloves in both categories. The superiority of gloves with high latex content for protection from blood-borne pathogens would be the straightforward and indisputable conclusion from this study were it not for the increasing incidence of latex allergies among health care workers. This study unveils the variability of protection provided by FDA-approved low-latex and nonlatex surgical and examination gloves. Workers with latex allergies, and those wishing to avoid latex exposure, should choose carefully among the alternative low-latex and nonlatex gloves. Without this study, the choice among nonlatex and low-latex gloves, given their comparatively high costs, might otherwise be made on the basis of acquisition costs alone without regard for the protection afforded by individual gloves. Clearly, cost should not be the only consideration given to the purchase of these special products.
Henderson VJ. Glove Leakage Rates as a Function of Latex Content and Brand—Invited Critique. Arch Surg. 2000;135(8):985. doi:10.1001/archsurg.135.8.985