The History of Disposable Gloves


Disposable gloves had bright beginnings and were developed to address a longstanding need for cleaner practices and barrier protection. By understanding this history, your sales teams will be able to more fully express how essential gloves are to many industries.

Here is an overview of how disposable gloves came to be a necessity for many businesses:

1889
In May 1889, Johns Hopkins Hospital first opened its doors. Dr. William Stewart Halstead, who had a number of medical and surgical achievements, was the first surgeon in chief and one of four founding physicians, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. These achievements included new operations for hernia repair and gallstone removal, among others. Also, Halstead was known for precision and cleanliness, which is why it is no surprise history credits him with developing the first surgical glove.

“The early history of disposable gloves stems from the medical industry.”

After his nurse, and later wife, Caroline Hampton said the chemicals she handled for surgery gave her a rash, Halstead reached out to the Goodyear Rubber Co. to create rubber gloves for her hands. Hampton loved the gloves, and more pairs arrived. Not long after, Halstead’s entire surgical staff wore them during operations. At the time, they assumed the primary benefit was increased dexterity and gave little thought to hygiene.

1894
Joseph Lister, the first surgeon to sterilize his surgical tools and dressings, was responsible for making surgical gloves sterile. In 1894, about 50 percent of all surgical patients died. Many of these fatalities were due to the fact that surgeons did not wash their hands between surgeries and examinations, thereby passing pathogens between patients.

Lister used carbolic acid to sterilize his instruments, according to BBC News. This action would be the founding of antiseptic surgery and the inspiration for the development of Listerine by Joseph Lawrence.

1965
The Ansell Rubber Co. Pty. Ltd. ramped up its funding for surgical glove research in 1941. In 1965, Ansell developed the first disposable medical gloves. The manufacturer sterilized the gloves using gamma irradiation.

1992
In March 1992, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA) published its Bloodborne Pathogens Standard. Around this time, there was increased awareness regarding HIV, and OHSA implemented the rule to protect workers who would come in contact with bodily fluids. OSHA’s standard required employers to provide personal protective equipment, including disposable gloves, to these workers.

The administration still requires gloves be worn in many applications, such as phlebotomies.

“Nitrile gloves first arrived on the market in the mid-1990s.”

Mid-1990s
During this time, nitrile disposable gloves first appeared on the market. These gloves, which come from acrylonitrile and butadiene monomers, provide more chemical resistance than latex gloves. Additionally, the gloves were perfect for wearers who had latex allergies and in medical settings where patients could have allergies.

According to Health & Safety International magazine, many manufacturers began working with nitrile after it became clear the material was useful in medical applications. Despite the fact nitrile could be used more often than latex, the synthetic rubber did not serve as a replacement for its predecessor. Rather, it was a product aimed at another market need: chemical resistance.

Today
Disposable gloves were born in the medical industry, and much of the innovation resulted from needs in exam applications. However, in more recent years, attention has shifted to safety uses for disposable gloves, such as automotive, food service and processing, and janitorial-sanitation.

In fact, the industrial market is the fastest growth sector for disposable glove usage. For example, in 2012, this market had the same glove revenue as the medical industry, with most of that revenue coming from nitrile gloves.

Disposable gloves have a rich history and much further to go. If you want to be a part of defining that future, contact an AMMEX representative today or contact us on our website to get started on becoming a distributor.

 

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Beyond Medical Exam Gloves


Did you know workers in the medical and dental industries use an average of 15 pairs of disposable gloves each day which is 3,960 pairs each year? While this number may appear high, it is not that different – or even the highest usage – compared to glove usage in other industries.

When people think of disposable gloves, they often picture doctors or nurses snapping latex gloves on their hands. However, the medical and dental industries are far from the only places where gloves are used.

Let’s consider the glove revenue for these combined industries, which was nearly $5 billion in 2012. While this is an impressive figure, it is a little more than half the glove revenue for the industrial safety industry. If this is not enough of an indication of how medical and dental glove usage is just a small part of the total market, consider that the revenue share for this sector was approximately 27 percent of the total in 2012.

This is all not to say there are not still opportunities for glove use in exam settings – all applications are projected to see significant growth. Yet, the data does indicate there are a wealth of opportunities to get workers in various industries the gloves they need to get the job done.

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EMS Workers Must Follow Proper Glove Procedures


Emergency medical services (EMS) workers go through a lot of training regarding safety when donning and doffing barrier clothing such as disposable gloves, according to the Journal of Emergency Medical Services.

However, these workers must remember to change their exam grade gloves at appropriate times during a call so they do not contaminate clean surfaces. This is true even if the patient does not have any visible lesions or is not vomiting. Per best practices, EMS workers should don gloves prior to touching a patient and remove them after a procedure or assessment is finished before touching a clean surface.

If workers must come into contact with patients after removing their gloves, they should immediately don a new pair. This indicates that workers should have ample supplies of disposable gloves on hand for the multiple changes.

Additionally, EMS workers need the appropriate gloves for the call. EMS workers frequently choose heavy duty exam grade gloves for the extra protection offered by the additional thickness and extended cuff. Additionally, if they are responding to a call involving dangerous chemicals, such as an on-the-job injury at a manufacturing plant, they must have a glove material that is resistant to the chemical involved in the accident, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

For more information, follow this link.

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Latex Allergies: Importance of Latex-Free Gloves


As a growing number products are made from latex, latex allergies have become more prevalent, according to the Medscape. Consequently, many industries where latex products like disposable gloves are common, such as the health care industry, have made it their mission to create latex-free environments.

Fayne Frey, a dermatologist from West Nyack, New York, told the Tribune she does not permit latex in her office because of the increased prevalence of the allergy, which she has herself. Additionally, she noted the human body increasingly reacts to latex as an allergen the more it comes in contact with the material, putting health care professionals, salon workers and people who have had multiple surgeries at higher risk for reactions. There are two types of latex allergy: dermatitis and anaphylaxis. The former includes skin irritation. The latter can be life threatening and include a weak pulse and fainting. Repeated latex exposure can escalate a reaction from dermatitis to anaphylaxis.

There are is no cure for a latex allergy, and those who have it must simply avoid the material. For this reason, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology recommends latex-free nitrile or polyvinyl chloride disposable gloves when appropriate as a viable substitute to latex products. Given many people don’t discover they have a latex allergy until their first reaction, end users should consider going with one of the aforementioned alternatives, when possible, to protect themselves and consumers.

 

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