SOURCE: Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council

September 11, 2008 16:40 ET

No Shortage of Medical Glove Supply in U.S. Says MREPC

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - September 11, 2008) - The Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council (MREPC), representing the world's largest group of medical glove manufacturers, today announced that natural rubber latex gloves are being manufactured and shipped according to schedule, unaffected by any of the factors contributing to the recent shortage of vinyl gloves out of China.

"There is definitely no slowdown in the production of latex gloves by Malaysia, the world's largest supplier of natural rubber latex and synthetic gloves," says Dato' Teo Suat Cheng, Chief Executive Officer of MREPC.

Medical latex gloves are widely used gloves because of their superior tactile qualities, unprecedented barrier protection, excellent comfort and fit, and reasonable cost. MREPC assures U.S. health facilities that the recent shortage of vinyl gloves announced by Hong Ray of China, the largest supplier of vinyl gloves, should not lead to a shortage of medical gloves in U.S. hospitals.

"Vinyl gloves have relatively inferior barrier properties, especially compared to latex and nitrile gloves, as shown by many studies," says Dr. Denise Korniewicz, world-renown researcher on glove use, professor, and Senior Associate Dean for Research at the University of Miami's School of Nursing and Health Services. As also shown by other researchers, vinyl is not an effective barrier against viral transmission (HIV, Hepatitis B, etc.) and other potentially infectious microorganisms. Korniewicz says experts agree that indiscriminate use of vinyl gloves in health care settings could expose both users and their patients to unnecessary health risks.

The use of improved low-protein latex gloves, on the other hand, has been shown by many hospital studies in the U.S., Canada and Europe, to vastly reduce the incidence of sensitization and allergic reactions in work places. More importantly, many latex allergic individuals wearing non-latex gloves can now work safely alongside their co-workers using these improved latex gloves. It is recommended that latex sensitive individuals should opt for non-latex gloves with adequate barrier protection, such as the nitrile gloves.

MREPC is a non-profit organization set up by Malaysia. One major role of MREPC is to serve as an education and information center focusing particularly on natural rubber latex gloves to help users better understand the products they use. MREPC works closely with standards setting and regulatory authorities as well as relevant governmental organizations, trade, consumer and public interest groups. For further information about latex gloves, please visit www.latexglove.info.

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    Cathy Purcell
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