What happens when a material designed to enhance health care can potentially cause health problems for some patients and care givers?
In the case of one healthcare product line, 3M applied material science and manufacturing expertise to come up with a better solution.
In 2014, we redesigned the FUTURO™ Comfort Support line of products and removed the natural rubber latex-containing components from the FUTURO™ Elbow, Knee and Ankle Comfort Supports 1 while maintaining essential product features and performance. Then again this year, we improved this same set of products’ design aesthetics to a more contemporary product color and pattern, all while maintaining the product performance with a construction that does not contain natural rubber latex-containing components.
Natural Rubber Latex is derived from the milky sap of the rubber tree. It can be found in many household products and medical equipment, including gloves, masks, and syringes. When people who do not suffer from a natural rubber latex allergy come in contact with it, nothing typically happens. But, for an increasing number of people, allergic reactions can develop, particularly after repeated exposure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one to six percent of the general population, and 17 to 22 percent of all healthcare workers are susceptible to these reactions which can range from a mild rash to life-threatening anaphylaxis.
In redesigning this FUTURO™ product line, the 3M Consumer Health Care development team ensured the products have compression and elasticity similar to the previous versions. They are built using a four-way stretch material which offers immediate compression and helps keep the support in place, a contoured design that provides optimal fit, all in a new contemporary product color and pattern.
All without the potential risks of natural rubber latex.
1 Products included in this change: FUTURO™ Comfort Knee Support (catalog numbers 76586ENR, 76587ENR, 76588ENR, 76589ENR); FUTURO™ Comfort Knee Support with Stabilizers (catalog numbers 46163ENR, 46164ENR, 46165ENR); FUTURO™ Comfort Elbow Support (catalog numbers 76577ENR, 76578ENR, 76579ENR); FUTURO™ Comfort Elbow Support with Pressure Pads (catalog numbers 47861ENR, 47862ENR, 47863ENR); FUTURO™ Comfort Ankle Support (catalog numbers 76581ENR, 76582ENR, 76583ENR)