The microbial and physical quality of recycled gloves

East Afr Med J. 1997 Apr;74(4):224-6.


Plastic surgical gloves reprocessed at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) were tested for microbiological and physical quality, using standard, disposable, factory sterilised surgical gloves as reference. The microbiological tests were carried out using slightly modified British Pharmacopoeia method. The tests to check on the physical integrity of the gloves were designed in our laboratories. A total of 48 pairs of each group were tested. 41.67% of the reprocessed gloves and 12.5% of the reference glove failed sterility test, whereas 47.9% of the former and 0% of the latter had physical defects. These results show significant difference in the microbiological and physical quality of the reprocessed and reference gloves. The reprocessing of plastic surgical gloves is therefore, potentially dangerous and it is strongly recommended that it is discontinued at all levels of health-care institutions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Disposable Equipment / standards*
  • Equipment Contamination / prevention & control*
  • Equipment Failure
  • Equipment Reuse / standards
  • Gloves, Surgical / standards*
  • Humans
  • Infection Control*
  • Sterilization / standards*