November 1992

Surgical Glove Powders Bind Latex Antigens

Author Affiliations

From the Laboratory of Macrophage Biology, Guthrie Foundation for Medical Research, Sayre, Pa. The authors disclaim any financial interest or relationship with Regent Hospital Products Inc, Greenville, SC.

Arch Surg. 1992;127(11):1354-1357. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1992.01420110102020

• Latex surgical gloves have recently been identified as a potential source of allergens. Much of the current information suggests that the soluble proteins in latex may cause significant reactions in sensitive individuals. The starch powders used as a lubricant on some latex gloves have also been identified as potential allergens in some patients. In this study, we determined these powders to act as potential carriers of latex allergens. We have produced a polyclonal antiserum to be used as a reagent to study latex proteins. By Western blot analysis, we identified a significant interaction between latex proteins and starch powders. The binding of latex proteins to starch particles results in a glove particle that may have an increased potential to act as an allergen. The latex protein—starch particles represent a potential mechanism for exposure and sensitization of health care workers to latex allergens. Elimination of these particles from the operating room should reduce the route of sensitization and the potential for adverse reactions to latex.

(Arch Surg. 1992;127:1354-1357)