Medical Applications

Cariflex Gloves

Cariflex® Polyisoprene Products are designed to replace natural rubber for molding medical products ranging from surgical gloves and tube connectors to IV bag and medical stoppers, balloon catheters, needle shields, dental dams and cohesive bandages.  Available in both solid and latex forms, Cariflex products are manufactured using a Kraton-developed advanced anionic polymerization process that eliminates impurities that can cause discoloration and odor.  The resulting high molecular weight Polyisoprenes are also free of the naturally occurring proteins that characterize natural rubber latex and can trigger Type 1 allergic reaction in users.  Cariflex products are easy to process with the same equipment and methods used for traditional natural rubber, i.e. dip molding (IRL), compression and injection molding as well as extrusion, among others.

Like natural rubber, Kraton cutting-edge polyisoprene products exhibit high tensile strength and tear resistance along with good elasticity and durability.    Medical products such as surgical gloves formed from innovative Cariflex latex materials feature a soft, skin-like feel, balancing strength and reliable protection with a pliable, comfort fit and easy contouring to shape.  Cariflex solid polyisoprenes used for molded parts such as stoppers and connectors offer the added features of high resealability with minimal coring to reduce leakage.

Catheters +

Cariflex Polyisoprene Products are high-purity alternatives to natural rubber for forming catheter balloons.  The synthetic polymers exhibit consistent high-quality and easy processing, forming defect-free films with exceptional elongation at break, low modulus and high strength. 
Key features include:

  • Free of naturally occurring proteins that cause Type 1 allergic reactions in sensitive patients
  • Sterilizable via gamma radiation
  • Ultra soft, natural feel for enhanced patient comfort
Cohesive Bandages +

Soft, stretchable bandages that are self-adhering (i.e. do not stick to users’ skin) are growing in popularity for improved patient comfort.  The products are ideal for first aid to secure gauze in position and under slight compression without adhesive tape.  Cohesive bandages are also well suited for use on delicate or traumatized skin and for compressing difficult-to-cover areas, e.g. sprained joints. 

The tough, resilient Cariflex Polyisoprene Products provides the comfort and reliability needed for the bandages.  These high-purity materials that are free of natural rubber proteins also reduce the risk of Type 1 allergic reactions in sensitive patients. 

Physiotherapy & Tourniquet Bands +

Cariflex Polyisoprene Products produce soft and stretchable bands used in physical therapy exercises as well as for medical tourniquets.  These materials feature the high elasticity and rebound needed to withstand repeated stretching cycles without triggering Type 1 allergic reactions in patients sensitive to the proteins that occur in products containing natural rubber.  White/transparent Polyisoprene latex polymers are easily pigmented during processing to virtually any color.

Dental Dams +

During various dental procedures, a dental dam or soft, flexible, square of material is placed over individual teeth or groups of teeth to isolate the area on which the dentist is working, keeping it clean and dry.  Historically, latex rubber has been used to produce the dams.  However, Polyisoprene dams are proven alternatives to natural rubber products because they are virtually odorless and free of the proteins that can cause Type 1 allergic reactions in patients.  Cariflex Polyisoprenes are also easy to process into small sheets that are super-soft and readily conformable to a patient’s mouth.

Medical Stoppers +

Medical stoppers are installed on IV bags and resealable pharmaceutical bottles to allow needle access to a fluid or medication without any residual leakage.  Stopper materials must exhibit good coring resistance, i.e. accommodate needle insertion without generating minute rubber material fragments that can contaminate the medication.  The same stopper products must be resealable and offer a low level of extractable impurities.
Natural rubber has not been used in this application for several years, partly because of potential Type 1 allergic reactions in patients sensitive to the naturally occurring proteins in those materials.  Cariflex Polyisoprene Products are protein-free and provide the coring resistance and resealability needed for effective medical stopper applications.  In addition, these high-purity polymers help reduce the possibility of drug contamination from the stopper even after aging.

Needle Shields & Tip Caps +

Prefilled syringes with a full range of needle sizes are completed by adding tip caps and needle shields.  Typically, caps and shields are produced from natural rubber-free elastomers that are tough enough to withstand sterilization via ethylene oxide or steam and product assembly.   

Nipples +

Cariflex Polyisoprene Products from Kraton are well suited to replace natural rubber in nipple production.  The soft, high flexibility materials exhibit virtually no odor and are high-purity products that are free of the natural rubber proteins that can cause Type 1 allergic reactions in sensitive people.  Moreover, the Polyisoprenes are readily sterilizable to prevent bacterial contamination.

Probe Covers +

Sterilizable Cariflex Polyisoprene Products are easy to process into thin films that exhibit good transparency for producing medical probe covers.  This latex material does not contain natural rubber proteins to reduce possible Type 1 patient and technician allergic reactions.  Cariflex Polyisoprene probe covers retain their shape to fit probes securely over time.  The films are also durable and can withstand exposure to gels and fluids to which they may be exposed.

Surgical gloves +

Cariflex Polyisoprene Products are superior alternatives to natural rubber for production of surgical gloves that require outstanding strength, reliable user protection and long-lasting wearer comfort.  Moreover, they reduce potential exposure of physicians, nurses, and patients to naturally occurring latex proteins that cause Type I allergic reactions.
Performance benefits of Cariflex Products include:

  • Light color; nearly transparent
  • Low odor (no ammonia needed in processing)
  • Very soft
  • Highly elastic for easy use
  • High durability



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Medical Disclaimer

Kraton Corporation and all of its affiliates, including Arizona Chemical, believe the information set forth herein to be true and accurate, but any recommendations, presentations, statements or suggestions that may be made are without any warranty or guarantee whatsoever, and shall establish no legal duty on the part of any Kraton affiliated entity.  The legal responsibilities of any Kraton affiliate with respect to the products described herein are limited to those set forth in Kraton’s Conditions of Sale or any effective sales contract.  NOTE TO USER: by ordering/receiving Kraton product you accept the Kraton Conditions of Sale applicable in the region.  All other terms are rejected.  Kraton does not warrant that the products described herein are suitable for any particular uses, including, without limitation, cosmetics and/or medical uses.  Persons using the products must rely on their own independent technical and legal judgment, and must conduct their own studies, registrations, and other related activities, to establish the safety and efficacy of their end products incorporating any Kraton products for any application.  Nothing set forth herein shall be construed as a recommendation to use any Kraton product in any specific application or in conflict with any existing patent rights. Kraton reserves the right to withdraw any product from commercial availability and to make any changes to any existing commercial or developmental product. Kraton expressly disclaims, on behalf of all Kraton affiliates, any and all liability for any damages or injuries arising out of any activities relating to the use of any information set forth in this publication, or the use of any Kraton products.

Kraton maintains a Cosmetics, Drugs and Medical Device Policy that restricts the use of Kraton’s Products in certain end use applications without Kraton’s prior written consent.  Accordingly, Kraton does not guarantee that Kraton’s products will be available for use in all potential end use applications.  Kraton’s Cosmetics, Drugs and Medical Device Policy is available on Kraton’s website at

*KRATON, CARIFLEX, the Kraton logo, and the tag line “Giving Innovators Their Edge” are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Kraton Corporation, or its subsidiaries or affiliates, in one or more, but not all countries.

©2016 Kraton Corporation.





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