A nonallergenic alternative to latex gloves will soon be available. Jurrius Manufacturing Co. (Akron, OH) has applied for a patent on a latex-free polyurethane glove that will be marketed under the name Spectrum. According to Peter Jurrius, executive vice president, the gloves will be stronger and more blunt-puncture resistant than those made with latex. "The 1-mil breathable and 2-mil models feel like you're not wearing a glove at all," says Jurrius, who will soon begin production at his Akron plant.
Gloves made of polyurethane are nonallergenic and reportedly stronger than latex.
Duraflex, the polyurethane monolithic film used in the gloves, was developed by Deerfield Urethane (South Deerfield, MA), a unit of Bayer Corp. (Pittsburgh). According to Larry Johnson, marketing manager at Deerfield, people who have used gloves made with the polyurethane film say those feel more comfortable than latex gloves and have a "nice tactile feel." The film has also been approved for use in wound dressings.
Available in thicknesses of 1 to 5 mil, the gloves can be custom ordered: for example, if thicker polyurethane is needed on the palms of the hands than on the backs. According to Jurrius, the gloves are alkali and acid resistant and have very low ion content. Because they are static free, the gloves can be used in cleanroom environments.
In addition to causing violent allergic reactions among a small number of users, there has been growing concern about whether plastic latex gloves are a safe barrier against virus-containing fluids. A paper presented at a meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology in New Orleans described research that found one-third of tested latex gloves failed to prevent microbes from passing through the material. Addressing this issue, Jurrius states that the polyurethane gloves "will definitely be safer" than latex. Spectrum gloves will meet the most stringent requirements established by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and FDA, he adds. The polyurethane gloves will be available within the next few months.
Rosemarie A. Santora