Floor and environmental contamination during glove disposal

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1 Scopus citations


Background: Evidence suggests that doffing and possibly disposal of used personal protective equipment (PPE) can lead to environmental contamination. Aim: To ascertain the potential for site and floor contamination when medical gloves are inappropriately disposed. Methods: Fifteen healthcare workers (HCWs) disposed of gloves inoculated with bacteriophage and a chemical dye into a wastebasket, located 1.22 m away. Following each trial, designated sample areas were visually inspected with a blacklight for fluorescent dye stains and swabbed with a 3M Letheen Broth sponge to quantify the bacteriophage. Findings: The area closest to the participant (<0.30 m) had the highest bacteriophage concentrations (geomean: 6.9 × 103 pfu/100 cm2; range: 8.07 to 3.93 × 107 pfu/100 cm2). Bacteriophage concentrations were significantly higher (P < 0.05) in areas ≤0.61 m compared to >0.61 m from the HCWs. Although the farthest distances (1.22–1.52 m) resulted in 14% bacteriophage- and 4% fluorescent dye-positive occurrences, there was no significant difference (P = 0.069) between the tracers. The bacteriophage and chemical dye indicate highest environmental contamination nearest the HCWs and both tracers could be appropriate for PPE disposal training. Conclusion: HCWs use gloves every workday and potentially could contaminate surrounding surfaces and floors, during improper disposal practices. Therefore, proper disposal techniques are required to minimize pathogen transmission by establishing industry-wide policies, adequate training, and education to HCWs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Hospital Infection
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • Biological tracers
  • Environmental contamination
  • Floor contamination
  • Glove disposal
  • Hospital
  • Personal protective equipment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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