The allergic reactions experienced by the use of gloves can be divided into:

  1. Latex Type I: This is a sensitization reaction in which specific antibodies develop in response to an allergen, which in this case are natural rubber latex (NRL) proteins. These proteins are only present in NRL gloves and not in non-latex gloves.
  2. Chemical Type IV allergies: This is an irritation that manifests as an inflammation or painful reaction. A stimulus or agent which induces the state of irritation is an irritant, which in the case of gloves are mostly caused by chemical accelerators. Please note that these chemicals can be present in both NRL and non-latex gloves.

Of the total healthcare worker (HCW) population, clinical evidence shows sensitization rates of up to 12%, while chemical allergies rates are up to 30%, of which 80% is caused by chemical accelerators.

Ansell recommends that anyone suffering a reaction should seek medical advice to determine the cause of the irritation and to be able to look for products not containing the source of reaction.

For more detailed information, please refer to Allergies Explained or Contact Us.

Non-latex gloves will protect against latex allergies but may not always provide the necessary protection against chemical allergies. Both latex and non-latex gloves contain chemical accelerators, which may cause chemical allergies in certain individuals. Chemical allergies represent approximately 30% of occupationally induced skin diseases and they are the second largest occupational disability reported to OSHA. 80% of the glove induced chemical allergies are caused by chemical accelerators. Ansell’s non-latex glove range has options that are free of both latex as well as chemical accelerators, protecting users of both types of reactions.

For more detailed information, please refer to Allergies Explained or Contact Us.

The main reason for hospitals switching to a non-latex environment is the elimination of latex allergy adverse events, with the consequential loss of time and productivity in the event of an incident together with the cost of the treatment, should a patient or HCW develop a clinical response. The move to non-latex gloves has other advantages to consider, such as the decrease in O.R turnover time for latex-allergy patient surgery; the elimination of time and product wastage when surgery is cancelled/postponed if a patient's latex allergy is discovered at the last minuted requiring the teardown of the entire O.R. On top of this, there are some logistical advantages for the hospital such as the consolidation of glove lines; more space available in the O.R storage; and, more simplified ordering. Finally, the complete elimination of latex will bring other savings such as the time needed to create protocols and procedures without using latex; training teams; and, the reduced risk of litigation should any adverse incidents occur.

Full hospital conversion is the only way to minimize the occurence of latex allergic events. Having only a few dedicated theatres will help minimize such incidents but there are still risks.

For more detailed information, please Contact Us.


Non-latex gloves have come a long way from when they were first introduced in terms of performance and properties. Today non-latex gloves provide the same options as latex and include orthopaedic, micro-surgery, moisturizing gloves and so on. They come in a range of materials such as polychloroprene or polyisoprene with the same performance as NRL options as proven by many hospitals using non-latex gloves. Some HCWs are resistant to any glove change as they are used to the latex gloves excellent dexterity and sensitivity. Small fit and feel differences can be noticed by some users as well as differences in smell of the latex vs non latex materials. This may cause users to require a short adaptation period, which is outweighed by the benefits of primary prevention:

For more detailed information, please Contact Us.