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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

For Consumers

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New Type of Latex Glove Cleared

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On April 23, 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared for marketing the Yulex Patient Examination Glove. This is the first medical device made from guayule latex, a new form of natural rubber latex.

How is it different from gloves made from traditional latex?

The Yulex glove is made from latex that is derived from the guayule bush, a desert plant native to the southwestern United States. Gloves made from guayule latex may prove to be a safer alternative for some people with sensitivity to traditional latex.

Traditional latex gloves are made from the milky sap of a rubber tree. The sap contains a protein that may trigger allergic reactions in some people, especially after prolonged and repeated contact.

Available data on the guayule latex show that even people who are highly allergic to traditional latex do not react on first exposure to guayule latex proteins. Because there is no data on people’s long-term experience with the Yulex glove, made by the Yulex Corporation of Maricopa, Ariz., the product will carry a warning for now about the potential for allergic reactions.

What are the signs of allergic reactions to latex?

Mild reactions may include skin redness, rash, hives, or itching. More severe reactions may include respiratory symptoms such as difficulty breathing, coughing spells, and wheezing. Rarely, shock may occur.

What has FDA done to address glove allergy problems?

The agency has taken many steps, including working with industry to develop a standard that identifies maximum protein and powder levels for medical gloves.

A 1998 rule requires that all medical devices containing latex carry a statement on the label warning about the risk of allergic reactions.

This article appears on FDA's Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.

Date Posted: April 25, 2008