New technology could end latex glove rashes

Allergy problems caused by the use of latex gloves in hospitals soon to become a thing of the past

A new technology developed by Dutch company Budev could reduce the allergic potential of latex gloves to virtually zero. The patented MPXX technology is used to wash latex during manufacture and is being used to produce Cleantexx brand gloves.

The gloves are being made in Malaysia by Total Glove, a Dutch-Malaysian joint venture between Budev and the Malaysian manufacturer Latexx Partners. Budev has granted Total Glove the right to use its MPXX technology in a licensing agreement for the manufacture of latex gloves; it is used to wash the protein residue from the gloves as a final step in the manufacturing process.

Current regulations require commercially available medical gloves to guarantee a latex protein content of less that 50µg/g. The levels of the four allergenic proteins in gloves treated with the MPXX process are so miniscule that they cannot be quantifiable by any of the standard methods – such as the Lowry and FITKit tests prescribed in Europe and in the US – or in even more stringent tests conducted by the dermatology department at the university hospital in Erlangen, Germany. Thus MPXX not only meets the current ASTM and EN 455 standards, it actually exceeds them by far, Budev says.

"Our product aims to offer a lasting solution to the problem of allergies caused by latex gloves. Efforts by manufacturers, legislators and users have brought about in a drop in the number of statistically recorded cases of contact dermatitis due to hypersensitivity to latex proteins, but they haven't been able to eliminate the problem completely,” says Michiel Paping, ceo of Budev and one of the directors of Total Glove. “Also latex allergy Type IV is upcoming for nitrile gloves. That may be about to change.”

The joint venture is limited to using the new technology to produce Cleantexx examination and surgical gloves, but Paping plans to apply the new process to the manufacture of other products made of natural rubber in the future.

Serial production of Cleantexx gloves has already begun in Malaysia, and they are already for sale in Europe. The gloves are available in two quality grades, and pricing is "fair and highly competitive, considering the excellent value of the product," says Paping.