As previously reported in JAVMA and on the AVMA’s social media channels, starting January 18, the FDA will institute a ban on all powdered patient examination gloves, powdered surgeon’s gloves and absorbable powder for lubricating a surgeon’s glove. The ban will impact both veterinary medicine and human medicine, according to FDA officials. All powdered surgeon’s gloves, powdered patient examination gloves and absorbable powder for lubricating a surgeon’s gloves must be removed from the market at this date.
“The risk of illness or injury posed by powdered gloves is unreasonable and substantial,” the FDA said in issuing the ban. The agency cited potential consequences including inflammation, granulomas and respiratory allergic reactions.
For veterinarians who already use non-powdered gloves, the rule will have no impact. In fact, the FDA indicated that Global Industry Analysts projected the share of powdered disposable medical gloves sales to decrease to only 2 percent in 2015, so many medical providers likely won’t feel an effect from the rule. Although veterinarians who do use powdered gloves may find themselves with unusable inventory after January 18, the good news is that the FDA’s economic analysis indicates the cost of non-powdered gloves should be similar to the cost of powdered ones. Additionally, as of early January, we are aware of at least one manufacturer offering replacement of unexpired powdered gloves with non-powdered alternatives. Check with your distributor or manufacturer to see if this opportunity is available to you.
The FDA, which is responsible for enforcing the ban, recommends that unused stocks of powdered gloves be thrown away as one would dispose of any typical solid waste. Specific consequences for failure to comply with the ban have not been publicized.