Does glove powder cause latex allergy?

Glove powder is used in the manufacturing process as a mould-releasing agent and a donning lubricant. It is also believed to be one possible cause of sensitisation. However, it is important to understand that glove powder or cornstarch powder itself is not known to be an allergen.

It is during the manufacturing process whereby the glove powder can adsorb latex protein, and via aerosolization when donning or changing gloves, these powder particles become airborne. Inhalation or direct contact with these powder particles is alleged to bring about allergic reactions.

This is why it is important to use only latex gloves with low protein content, such as the family of Unigloves latex examination gloves. Not all powder-free gloves have a low protein level. There are powder-free gloves that contain a high level of latex protein. Choose only gloves that are marked as low protein, preferably less than 50 µg/g of glove.