Cornstarch powder on latex examination gloves acts as an airborne carrier of natural latex allergens resulting in cutaneous, conjunctival, and/or respiratory responses to latex, a particular concern in a dental school environment where concentrated use of latex examination gloves occurs. This study measured airborne powder levels associated with a trial substitution of powder-free latex examination gloves for powdered latex examination gloves in a dental school clinic. Secondary aims of the study were to assess user acceptance of powder-free gloves during the trial and to assess the financial impact of converting the entire dental school to a powder-free environment. Air was sampled from two areas (dispensary and treatment room) of a student clinic fifteen to thirty minutes before the beginning of normal clinic sessions and again about 1.5 hours into the clinic session. The samples were microscopically analyzed for particulate counts of cornstarch powder. A written survey instrument assessed user acceptance of the two types of gloves. Historical financial data were used to estimate the cost of converting the entire dental school to a powder-free environment. Both the dispensary and the treatment room showed significant reductions in airborne powder counts during use of powder-free latex gloves and a return to high powder counts with resumption of powdered glove use. During the weeks of powdered glove use, the powder counts were also significantly lower before the beginning of the clinic session and higher during the clinic session. User acceptance of the powder-free latex gloves was high. The increased cost per year to convert the entire dental school to a powder-free environment was estimated to be $13,943.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Journal of dental education|
|State||Published - Nov 1999|
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