The case for reintroducing latex surgical and exam glove production back into the U.S.

by Jim Finn, Akron Dispersions

Following the AIDS/HIV outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a Universal Precautions (UP) document in 1985-88. These recommendations detailed the practices and procedures necessary to reduce the exposure of healthcare workers to blood-borne pathogens. Every patient was treated as if infected, and therefore precautions were taken to minimize risk.

The recommendations included the wearing of non-porous articles such as medical gloves, goggles and face shields. The world today uses 12,000 medical gloves per second. Prior to the UP publication, U.S. glove production had been satisfied by a number of medical device manufacturers, namely,
Safeskin, Ansell, Aladan, Baxter, Smith & Nephew and Johnson & Johnson. In addition, glove imports in the U.S. prior to 1985 were 1 billion pieces. In 1996, imports exceeded 21 billion pieces. By this time, most of the glove manufacturing had moved from the U.S. to Southeast Asia…

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