Latex gloves, and latex in general, has had a huge role in preventing the spread of infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS.  But 3% of medical workers are allergic to latex, and when professionals that develop an allergy over time are added to the equation, that rate can rise up to 17%.  Accommodating that ratio of workers is a headache--tactics like denaturing latex materials with gloves and hot water use massive amounts of resources and time.  With 75 gloves used per hospital bed, there is plenty of room for an alternative.

One company working on an alternative is Vystar, which claims it has a “greener” latex glove.  Here’s how its CEO Bill Doyle explains how their “green chemistry” process works and tackles that powder layered around those gloves--the trouble behind most of the allergic reactions:

We put it in a slurry, into the solution, and during centrifuging, the proteins were falling to the bottom. Now you’ve got all the non-rubber content in the skim. The top layer is your http://www.vytex.com/#mce_temp_url# product. Any latex that’s non-tire goes through the centrifuging process. The skim can be used for roller-blade tires.

With the elimination of wasted water and bleach, gloves like those of Vystar could help hospitals and clinics save on their energy and utility costs--compensating for the small premium that is paid for Vystar’s product.  The ROI for investing in such products can be met in a year or less.

A happier and more comfortable medical staff is a sweet gain, too.

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About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he specializes in social media consulting and strategic communications. A journalist and writer since 2009, his work has appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Areas of interest include the <a Middle East, sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (Leon Kaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). Since 2013, he has spent much of his time in Abu Dhabi, UAE, working with Masdar, the emirate's renewable energy company. He lives in Fresno, California.