Those Disposable Coronavirus Gloves You're Tossing on the Ground Are a Hazard

Those used gloves you see scattered on the ground pose a potential health risk to others. A doctor warns they need to be treated as potential objects of coronavirus infection

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As people turn to disposable gloves to protect themselves from the coronavirus, concerns are growing about how the single-use materials are being tossed away.

Some people are dropping their used disposable gloves on the ground without giving a second thought to the coronavirus pandemic prompting them to wear the gloves. 

“This can pose a health hazard,” said Dr. Rob Danoff, who oversees the COVID-19 testing site in Bensalem.

“We have to dispose of these gloves properly. By leaving them out on the street or sidewalk, someone else has to pick it up. They may pick up the unwanted germs that you are protecting yourself from.” 

Used gloves were spotted outside the Acme in Andorra, feet from a trash can on Ridge Avenue in Roxborough, and gloves were scattered around the parking lot of a Giant in Plymouth Meeting.

gloves in a parking lot medan
NBC10 / Matthew Pantaleno
A pair of disposable gloves sits discarded in a parking lot outside the Fresh Grocer in Philadelphia's Wynnefield Heights section.

Danoff said gloves can hold onto viruses and bacteria for several hours, depending on the type of glove.

"They need to be treated as potential objects of infection that can be potentially harmful to someone else. We need everyone to be responsible to stop the spread of COVID-19," he said.

The disposable gloves have become a staple of doctors, nurses and now everyday people. Millions of these gloves end up in landfills each year.

While disposable gloves are meant to be thrown away, Danoff, who focused on environmental health in graduate school, urged people to avoid using disposable plastic shopping bags.

He said the use of disinfectant wipes will kill the virus. Simply wipe the inside and the outside of a reusable shopping bag. This avoids adding more plastic waste to the environment.

Plastic gloves provide protection, sanitation, and alleviates fear of exposure, but health officials say proper disposal is important.

Protecting people from the virus is in your hands.

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