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Old 02-07-2017, 05:21 PM
Ziofilippo Ziofilippo is offline
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Lots of discarded latex gloves in the streets?

I suspect that most of the world has not noticed - but in the last couple of years, Iíve started seeing an increasing proliferation of used latex gloves in the streets. I live in Chicago, but I have noticed them in other cities too. Theyíre usually near the curb, or in alleys, near where cars go - most often just one, sometimes a pair. Iíve asked opinions - including that of a neighbor cop. I get everything from sex workers (for obvious reasons?) to drug dealers and gun shooters who want to eliminate fingerprints (more forethought than Iíd expect from these types?) to everyday people who wear gloves in their jobs (to handle cash, for cleaning, etc.) and dispose of them before they get into their cars. Of course, latex gloves are simply more commonly used than they were before. Whatís the explanation? Have the streets always been littered with them - and Iím just now noticing themÖ everywhere? An odd question - but I just have to ask.

Zio
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Old 02-07-2017, 07:27 PM
Mister Rik Mister Rik is offline
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As a cook, I go through a crapload of gloves every day (nitrile, not latex - latex is mostly phased out due to allergies these days), and all of those gloves go into the trash, From there they go to the dumpster. Depending on the dumpster and its location, it might be subject to foraging by animals and/or homeless people, and the gloves could end up on the ground. Or the trash might fall from a garbage truck and get spread around.
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Old 02-07-2017, 07:31 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
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But just the gloves? Why not also food wrappers, boxes, soda bottles, Styrofoam padding, etc.?
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Old 02-07-2017, 11:11 PM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is offline
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Just as a WAG, but the gloves are eternal. Wrappers may be eaten by critters, pop bottles get scavenged quickly for their CRV/deposit, and foam packing gets crumbled and blows around.
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Old 02-07-2017, 11:29 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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They aren't common on the streets in the Boston area even though I work in a facility that uses hundreds, if not thousands, of them a day. I don't dispute your claim but I don't recall seeing them in the other cities I frequent either.

We do have the "one shoe beside the road" phenomenon just like almost everywhere that no one can give a good explanation for. It may be like that.
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Old 02-07-2017, 11:42 PM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
They aren't common on the streets in the Boston area even though I work in a facility that uses hundreds, if not thousands, of them a day. I don't dispute your claim but I don't recall seeing them in the other cities I frequent either.

We do have the "one shoe beside the road" phenomenon just like almost everywhere that no one can give a good explanation for. It may be like that.
Portkeys.
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Old 02-08-2017, 09:08 AM
Ziofilippo Ziofilippo is offline
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Discarded Latex / nitrile gloves... more detail...

All good points! Sure, nitrile, not latex. No, the gloves I've seen are not exactly eternal - I actually have observed many in a substantially degraded state over time. I've not seen any pattern in typical locations - i.e. not especially near hospitals, nor restaurants, etc. Most commonly, I see them near the street curb, commonly on residential streets (seemingly tossed out of a car while getting in or out - maybe by people coming home from working in a hospital, etc. ?). Yes, sometimes near dumpsters, I guess - but not typically anywhere near them. And of course there's no shortage of other kinds of trash laying about, and I haven't commented on that stuff. The thing is, I never noticed gloves before the last couple of years, and now I see them in LOTS of places - increasingly frequently (perhaps several times/week). Seems that either it's some kind of observation bias - I may be "looking for them" without really meaning to... or they're just used and discarded by a lot more people these days....or - there's some kind of new usage that I haven't figured out. Or none of the above. That's what's intriguing. Am I the only one who's noticed this?

Last edited by Ziofilippo; 02-08-2017 at 09:13 AM.
  #8  
Old 02-08-2017, 12:33 PM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
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I've noticed a lot more places selling latex/nitrile gloves. It just may be that their cost has come down or some other factor is causing an increased usage of those gloves in day-to-day life. More usage = more waste, including waste that makes it onto the street.

Another possibility is that there is a program that hands these gloves out - for example, safe injection sites for addicts, or drug programs that give the gloves out to addicts to help protect them from blood contact when shooting each other up.

Yet another possibility is that the gloves have been mandated for some common outdoor task, and the workers are lazy about cleanup.
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Old 02-08-2017, 02:55 PM
Saintly Loser Saintly Loser is offline
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Nitrile (not latex) gloves are often worn by people working on cars. Keeps the hands clean.

This might be why the OP sees them where cars are parked.

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Old 02-08-2017, 03:02 PM
Buck Godot Buck Godot is offline
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There is also the possibility of confirmation bias.

It may be that there were always some latex glove around but once you started thinking they were overly abundant you started paying attention to them. So that it appeared as though they were suddenly everywhere.
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Old 02-08-2017, 03:05 PM
Buck Godot Buck Godot is offline
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nm: double post

Last edited by Buck Godot; 02-08-2017 at 03:05 PM.
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Old 02-08-2017, 03:32 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Originally Posted by Buck Godot View Post
There is also the possibility of confirmation bias.

It may be that there were always some latex glove around but once you started thinking they were overly abundant you started paying attention to them. So that it appeared as though they were suddenly everywhere.
That's what started me collecting photos of lost gloves (including, but not limited to latex examples). Once you start seeing them, they are hard to unsee.
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Old 02-09-2017, 05:47 AM
Isilder Isilder is offline
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They are being used by more and more people. Such as truck drivers, delivery drivers of all sorts.

Avoids dropping the items and paper cuts and greasy fingers from pizza boxes and stuff like that.
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Old 02-09-2017, 09:51 AM
bardos bardos is offline
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These "gloves" are being used more and more in many many "industries", tasks and jobs where they were never used before. To my thinking, it's a fear of germ contamination.
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Old 02-09-2017, 10:05 AM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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I have to say, I've not noticed this at all. Like Mister Rik, I work in a place that goes through quite a few gloves as well. We use vinyl gloves here and while some do end up in the parking lot, they don't exactly take off after that and we sweep them up afterwards. Someone asked about everything else in the dumpster (food wrappers etc). In part, most of our other garbage is food scraps, which is heavy and wet and what isn't food scraps is soaking wet and weighted down by food scraps. Also, things that would get out with the gloves, like plastic, does, and we clean that up as well.

But if the OP is seeing this in residential neighborhoods, it's not going to be food related. I suspect, as someone else mentioned confirmation bias. OTOH, you could pay attention to how often and where you're noticing them. If they're not actually everywhere you go but actually just localized to one small area, it could just be from one person. Similar to when you see 300 wads of the same color gum in one area or when you walk in to a huge office building and the ashtray has 40 cigarette butts, all the same brand, all smoked to the same length and all put out the same way; they're all from one person.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziofilippo View Post
Most commonly, I see them near the street curb, commonly on residential streets (seemingly tossed out of a car while getting in or out - maybe by people coming home from working in a hospital, etc. ?).
I can't imagine any hospital employee wearing their disposable gloves more than a step or two past walking away from a patient, much less making it almost all the way home. All the things you're trying to protect yourself from are no inside your car, on your steering wheel. It would defeat the purpose.
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Old 02-09-2017, 10:09 AM
Omar Little Omar Little is offline
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Confirmation bias.

When you are looking for certain items, you see many more of them.

It's like the phenomena of when you start thinking of buying a certain car make, and then you start noticing them more on the road than you did before.
  #17  
Old 02-09-2017, 10:34 AM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Originally Posted by bardos View Post
These "gloves" are being used more and more in many many "industries", tasks and jobs where they were never used before. To my thinking, it's a fear of germ contamination.
It's not even germs, but I think more and more people realize that for not a lot of money you can save a lot of time not washing your hands. That is, my friends will laugh when I put on gloves or use a rag/paper towel to pick up a dirty car part or work on an engine, but I'm the one that's not spending 5 minutes cleaning grease off my hands later and then smelling like engine for the rest of the day.

Similarly, I keep gloves at home. It's really nice to put them on, grab the chicken from the fridge, open the package, cut it, bread it, put it in the pan, put all the utensils I just used in the open dishwasher and throw out the gloves (then wipe down the counter). Nothing's contaminated, don't need to worry about anything on my hands. Same thing for hot peppers. Don't have to worry about taking my contacts out 6 hours later and burning my eyes.

ETA, and all this is even more so now that anyone can walk into a AutoZone and find gloves right at the counter and and buy a little 10 pack to try them out. Harbor Freight has a whole aisle of them. You can get them on Amazon. They're everywhere. Gone are the days when the only places you saw gloves were food service and medical workers.

Last edited by Joey P; 02-09-2017 at 10:36 AM.
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Old 02-10-2017, 09:36 AM
Ziofilippo Ziofilippo is offline
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Still curious...

Right - I got it (from the get go)... confirmation bias, more common uses, low cost, etc. - help explain the high incidence rate of me seeing them. But I'm still curious about the commonality in locations: most often near cars / curbs, very often residential. No pattern near dumpsters, hospitals, restaurants, etc. that I can see - and I have definitely looked for patterns. And no, not just my neighborhood. I've seen them in other cities - even other countries - fer feck's sake.

Here's the thing: I imagine that glove wearers would want to take them off and discard them pretty much immediately after coming near the offending fluids, gunk, germs, etc. so as to not contaminate their clothes, cars, steering wheels, keys, etc.(not to mention the likely fashion violation - wearing blue and purple gloves while going to and from the car - they don't really go with anything). Does that mean that the hand-fouling offense happens in or near their cars? What would that look like? They're not cutting chicken, stitching wounds, or cleaning auto parts near the curb. At least most are not (hmmm... new thoughts: moms changing baby's diapers in the car seat? Contractors finishing nearby construction work?)

Anyway, barring new insights from the Teeming Masses, it seems that my initial nefarious glove-disposal theories (sex workers, drug dealers and gun-toters?), don't fit, so I must acquit. I'll write it off to observation bias and an overactive imagination! Thanks for your comments!
  #19  
Old 02-10-2017, 03:12 PM
MikeF MikeF is offline
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Chicago = lots of shootings = lots of medics treating victims = lots of discarded gloves.
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Old 02-11-2017, 02:42 PM
Channing Idaho Banks Channing Idaho Banks is offline
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When I first read this I was incredulous, but last night I spotted an abandoned glove on the sidewalk. That only took 3 days.
  #21  
Old 02-11-2017, 05:13 PM
TSBG TSBG is offline
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I feel like I see cops wearing them a lot these days--don't want skin on skin contact with the hippies protesting the Convention, I suppose. Anyway, I doubt police activity is the sole cause of the proliferation, but they're just one more profession using them. I use them a lot myself for messy household tasks, but I of course throw mine away when done.
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Old 03-06-2017, 10:25 AM
Ziofilippo Ziofilippo is offline
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I said I'd stop, but....

.... I must correct a comment or two: If your mental picture of Chicago is that of medics treating gunshot wounds everywhere and cops pulling people over everywhere... you've got the wrong picture. Yes, lots of problems in the City overall, but not in all areas, and not in the areas where I've seen most of the gloves. That's another discussion, of course, and I won't pretend to be an expert, and I don't mean to enjoin. Just sayin'.

My latest Theorized Contributing Factor is US Postal Service workers. They seem to wear gloves fairly commonly no their routes, they park their trucks in lots of neighborhood places, and perhaps they drop their gloves there after they're done? I also thought about dog walkers, but honestly, I see lots of people walking dogs around here and have never seen anyone use gloves to clean up dog business.

I can't help it - will add more thoughts as I think 'em.
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Old 03-06-2017, 11:48 AM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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And what about the scrunchy epidemic (those colored elastic hair thingies)? They're everywhere. My cat loves them and I'm thinking of making a scrunchy launcher for cat owners. Profit!
  #24  
Old 03-06-2017, 02:38 PM
dtilque dtilque is offline
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It's a conspiracy. The gloves are ganging up with the discaded shoes. Next they'll be in cahoots with hats and those scrunchy-things Chefguy mentioned. After that, who knows what items of wear will join the conspriacy: socks? leg warmers? cummerbunds? They're out to get us, I tells you!

Today, the streets, tomorrow the world! Don't say I didn't warn you.
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Old 03-06-2017, 06:32 PM
missred missred is offline
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Have you found any near gas stations? A couple of the stations that I frequent have a dispenser of them by the paper towels and window washing squeegee.
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Old 03-07-2017, 08:11 AM
Waxwinged Waxwinged is offline
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Bakeries use them pretty heavily, off the top of my head.
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Old 03-07-2017, 12:16 PM
Ziofilippo Ziofilippo is offline
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Right!

Yes, bakeries, gas stations, auto repair shops, hospitals, restaurants - all of those things make perfect sense, and I have seen them there too. The thing that puzzles me is why they'd be in regular neighborhoods, blocks from any businesses, in seemingly random places. I think it's probably a dog's breakfast of mixed reasons that all add up to something that looks like a single trend? Keep the ideas coming.....!

As far as conspiracy goes, you may be right. But by the time we know for sure, I fear it may be too late to do anything about it. It won't be televised at any rate... the scrunchies may start picking up discarded dental floss picks (which also seem to be multiplying on the sidewalks) to use like little pirate cutlasses to nip at your ankles.
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Old 03-07-2017, 07:59 PM
anomalous1 anomalous1 is offline
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North Side here

I too am from Chicago, born and raised. I honestly don't think it is confirmation bias, I see discarded nitrile and latex gloves (usually light blue color) a lot as well. I usually see them in more rough neighborhoods though, but I cannot confirm whether it's that the gentrified neighborhoods are cleaner because nobody drops them, or street sweeping schedules are better. I usually see a lot of them the more west I go on Grand or Fullerton, North avenue as well as in Uptown (Roger's Park). But also see them all over the place on Elston. My theory is that there are a lot of car washes, repair and body shops in these areas, and sometimes people wrap drugs in foil and/or the gloves (easy to tie the fingers) to throw off scent/keep it dry if they are carrying. I notice them a little bit around Red/Brown Line stations too (drug/bomb sniffing dogs downtown). I am not sure either, but personally am pretty convinced that these are the reasons.

Hope this helps, but I usually do see this is rougher neighborhoods where drugs most likely are more common. People may drop the gloves after opening the drugs, especially if it's marijuana because they may just get off with confiscation or a ticket for the weed (looks like a personal amount) than get a charge for distribution for it looking as if they are selling it.

Before the jokes, I know a lot about this stuff because I was a teenager once and I have had many friends, in all different walks. Also helped earn a lot of extra credit being a Criminal Justice Major =)
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Old 03-07-2017, 08:08 PM
anomalous1 anomalous1 is offline
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Gloves and Shootings?

I could see where the shooting, using gloves to stop fingerprints as well as cops searching people and medics treating wounds would make sense if you give the media credit. Chicago is not like it is portrayed in Movies and the News, if you are not a criminal/gang member you are more likely to be hurt from having a heart attack from anger at the sheer volume of skinny-jean clan pseudo-lumberjack hipsters frollicking about EVERYWHERE. The violence is usually localized to certain neighborhoods that make up a small percentage of the city and AFAIK are nearly all gang related to some degree. Sure there is bleed-over into different neighborhoods, but it isn't like its unsafe to walk down the street or something. It's a pretty safe city, given you avoid a few areas, but even then, if you are not in a gang, you'd still be pretty safe, despite the feeling of unease.
  #30  
Old 03-07-2017, 10:02 PM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is offline
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I don't know. I live in Rogers Park, work in Roscoe Village and Uptown and when not in those three can most frequently be found in the neighborhoods of Edgewater, Andersonville, Lakeview and Ravenswood. I've not noticed what you've noticed.
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Old 03-07-2017, 11:53 PM
anomalous1 anomalous1 is offline
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Roscoe

I live in Roscoe Village, I only notice them on occasion and it is a very safe neighborhood, but I have definitely in Rogers Park, most of the stretch on Grand/Fullerton (particularly up west by Riis Park/Brickyard), areas and Elston near Montrose. These areas on the North Side are NOT by definition known for absence of some heavy crime. (http://gis.chicagopolice.org/CLEARMap/startPage.htm). Therefore if I see the gloves in high crime neighborhoods, my first thought is drugs. I too am open to further talk about this because I really want to know the reason why I see them so often and it happens to be in some iffy areas. I would hope it isn't drugs but I don't see any other reason except to tight off their arms (heroin) or put drugs in to deter scent/moisture. I hope it's just because of the mechanics and car washes in the areas.

Last edited by anomalous1; 03-07-2017 at 11:56 PM.
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