MUNDELEIN, Ill. -- Medline Industries Inc., a leading supplier of exam gloves, is announcing today that it will triple its production of Isolex, a synthetic material used to make latex-free Sensicare® gloves to meet growing demand in the surgical glove market.
According to OSHA, since 1987, the number of latex-allergies in healthcare workers has increased dramatically. This increase coincides with an increase in glove usage to protect workers from HIV and hepatitis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that studies indicate 8 percent to 12 percent of healthcare workers are now at risk for latex-allergies. Among the general population, the at-risk number is far less at between 1percent and 6 percent.
Isolex is a synthetic polyisoprene latex that is gaining popularity and becoming the preferred choice of material to replace natural rubber latex to eliminate the potential for exposure to life-threatening Type I allergic reaction in the medical device arena. Synthetic polyisoprene has the same molecular structure as natural rubber, but contains no natural rubber latex protein.
"With heightened concern over latex allergies, surgeons are looking for protective alternatives. The synthetic polymer in Isolex provides the same excellent tactile sensitivity and comfort found in natural rubber latex. Subsequently we are fast finding our Sensicare surgical gloves -- made with our technologically advanced Isolex polyisoprene -- are gaining widespread usage among surgeons nationwide," says Tripp Amdur, president of Medlines Accucare/Glove Division.
Amdur notes that this large scale expansion is necessary to meet the demands of the marketplace. Isolex will continue to be produced at Medline's Honea Path, S.C. location. The company expects to invest more than $15 million in a new facility at the site. The new plant should be fully operational in early 2006.
"We're extremely proud of our technical team which did an excellent job in developing and troubleshooting a complex chemical process to bring this superior polyisoprene product to market," Amdur adds.
Medline manufactures and distributes more than 100,000 products to hospitals, extended care facilities, surgery centers, home care dealers and agencies and other markets. Medline has more than 700 dedicated sales representatives nationwide to support its broad product line and cost management services.