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Advocacy Group Calls for Latex Glove Ban

Huntstock/ Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Public Citizen is calling for the Food and Drug Administration ban latex medical gloves.

The group filed a petition late Monday which elaborated on the harm latex gloves with cornstarch powder may cause to both patients and medical workers.

Public Citizens says the latex in the gloves can cause allergic reactions which can be serious or life-threatening. According to the petition, the reaction can be generated from both wearing the gloves and inhaling cornstarch powder which is bound to latex proteins.

The latex gloves are also believed to pose a threat if the cornstarch particles seep into tissues during surgery. Public Citizen says the depositing of the powder into tissue can cause inflammation.

“The FDA’s prolonged failure to take action eliminating the dangers posed by powdered surgical and patient examination gloves demonstrates a reckless and inexcusable disregard for the health and safety of patients and health care workers,” said Dr. Michael Carome, deputy director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. “The dangers posed by powdered surgical and patient examination gloves and all latex gloves have been widely recognized throughout the medical profession and the world for many years and are indisputable. Safer, equally effective substitutes are available.”

This marks the second time Public Citizen has petitioned the FDA to ban the use of cornstarch in latex gloves. The first effort, in 1998, prompted the FDA to reclassify surgical and patient examination gloves, requiring special controls like warning labels marking the gloves.

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