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Ansell Ltd. July 26, 2013



25/July/2013, Tokyo, Japan, Ansell, a global leader in protection solutions, today announced that Ansell Healthcare Japan Co., LTD. will release Japan’s first micro type non-latex accelerator-free surgical gloves on August 1, 2013.

According to a survey conducted by Ansell Healthcare Japan at JSEI (the Annual Meeting of Japanese Society of Environmental Infections) held this past March, more than 70 percent of healthcare professionals are plagued with skin irritation1, a recurring occupational disease. GAMMEX® Non-Latex Accelerator-Free Sensitive gloves are made from synthetic rubber, which greatly reduces the risk of type I and type IV allergies, by the omission of latex and chemical accelerators. The gloves have similar comfort and fitting as natural rubber surgical gloves. The GAMMEX Non-Latex Accelerator-Free Sensitive gloves were first released in July 2012 in Europe, U.S. and Australia. Japan is the first country in Asia to begin selling this product. GAMMEX Non-Latex Accelerator-Free Sensitive gloves will be distributed by Toray Medical, Co., Ltd. (domestically sold as Sensi-Touch® Pro SENSOPRENE®).

"We are delighted to be able to provide healthcare professionals that suffer from surgical glove-related hand allergies our low allergy risk gloves,” said Denis Gallant, Senior Vice President and Regional Director of Ansell Asia Pacific. “We are confident that these gloves will provide a better working environment for healthcare professionals and patients.”

In the healthcare industry, surgical gloves are an essential piece of medical equipment in terms of infection prevention between medical professionals and patients. The primary material for surgical gloves is natural rubber and synthetic rubber, but, domestically, 90 percent of medical professionals (according to 2012 JAPAN Glove Manufactures Association) use natural rubber gloves due to the comfortable fitting and wear. However, both types include chemical substances that may cause allergic symptoms, and therefore medical professionals that frequently use these products often face allergic interactive hives or allergic interactive dermatitis after performing surgery.

The cause for the allergic symptoms stems not only from individual physical conditions, but is also caused by the invasion of allergens due to the decline in the skin barrier effects such as skin irritation. The release of GAMMEX Non-Latex Accelerator-Free Sensitive gloves will help to improve the working environment of medical professionals, as well as provide safer treatment to patients.

Latex allergy from natural rubber

Latex allergy is an allergic reaction (immediate allergy/ type I) caused by the proteins of natural rubber, and can cause hives, pimples, swelling, reddening, difficulty breathing, asthma, and in some cases the possibility of anaphylactic shock.

Overseas, to prevent the AIDS virus, the usage of rubber gloves by medical professionals was promoted, leading to the rapid growth of latex allergy infections. In the US alone, there were more than 1,000 incidents of anaphylactic shock caused by latex allergies from 1988 to 1992, including 15 anaphylactic shock deaths2. In 1991, the FDA announced an alert related to latex allergies. Although the Japanese Ministry of Health and the Labor and Welfare department have helped bring attention to this issue, awareness still remains low. The 2005 Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare Health Harms Skin Disorders Report pertaining to home products states, “Latex Allergy causes anaphylactic symptoms and may pose serious disorders such as hives, rashes, and state of shock.”

Synthetic rubber made surgical gloves may also cause chemical substance allergies

Generally, rubber accelerators are used for creating surgical gloves, which are the cause for chemical substances allergic reaction (Delayed / Type IV Hypersensitivity). As allergic contact dermatitis, it will cause reddening, sclerosis, vesicles, itching, and hives. Often 48 hours will pass before an outbreak, making it difficult to locate the cause for proper treatment.

Occupational related skin diseases make up 25-30 percent of occupational diseases2. Japan Labor Health and Welfare Organization investigation states that contact dermatitis outbreak is less than 80 percent but makes up most of occupational diseases3. Hand outbreaks are as high as 67.4 percent. In terms of occupations affected most by this allergy, hairdressers are at 10.8 percent, and nurses come in second at 9.7 percent. Rubber gloves, masks, and hand washing are given as reasons for allergic outbreaks in nurses.

1 Ansell Healthcare Japan

2 Japan Latex Allergy Kenkyukai(=Society)

3 Japan Labor Health and Welfare Organization Rosai Byoin (Laborer’s Hospital), etc. Spread site of Rosai Byoin, etc. 13 Fields of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Physical Factor Induced Diseases