Floor and environmental contamination during glove disposal

K. M. Munoz-Gutierrez, R. A. Canales, K. A. Reynolds, M. P. Verhougstraete

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 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 × 10 3 pfu/100 cm 2 ; range: 8.07 to 3.93 × 10 7 pfu/100 cm 2 ). 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)
Pages (from-to)347-353
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hospital Infection
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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