The FDA recently released a statement proposing a ban on most powdered surgical gloves in the United States. The powder, usually in the form of corn starch, is added to facilitate putting on the gloves and taking them off, as well as providing some comfort. The FDA's concerns about the powder stems from its use in latex gloves, which are known to cause an allergic reaction in some people due to the presence of latex proteins. A 1997 study by the FDA showed that the powder used in latex gloves can act as an airborne carrier for these latex proteins, as the latex proteins can bind to the cornstarch. The resulting aerosolized powder can lead to respiratory allergic reactions. The powder could also potentially get into wound sites and cause dermal allergic reactions.
The proposed ban is currently available for public comment for 90 days. Comments can be made at this web site.