Corn starch is a white, tasteless, odorless powder, used in food processing, papermaking, and the production of industrial adhesives; it is also a component of many cosmetics and oral pharmaceutical products. It has been used as a lubricant in surgical gloves.
Various adverse reactions to corn starch have been reported after surgical use. Corn starch is not by itself allergenic, but it becomes so when it binds allergenic latex proteins, and allergic reactions have been reported. Spillage of corn powder used in surgical gloves into the peritoneal cavity can result in peritonitis and breakdown of wounds. Starch granulomata have also been reported in the ear after ear surgery. It has been suggested that these reactions are uncommon and due to hypersensitivity, rather than an inflammatory response. In two patients with starch-induced granulomatous peritonitis, cell-mediated immunity to corn starch was demonstrated.