Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ4) became aware on Monday that 41.3 million medical-grade gloves owned by Iselin based Ansell had been held by
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) since last September.
Twenty-four hours later, after dozens of phone calls from Rep. Smith to numerous federal officials, CBP released the gloves which are now being distributed to medical professionals and first responders throughout the United States.
“At this critical juncture, when supplies of personal protective equipment—PPE—are scarce and medical professionals need to be safeguarded from the coronavirus, we needed to act quickly and work with federal officials to get 41.3 million medical examination gloves released by CBP and into the communities across the country where they are desperately needed,” said Smith.
“Amidst the national emergency to combat the COVID-19, CBP had been holding the gloves for many months, and it took dozens of calls to numerous different federal officials. But it was just too important to give up on,” Smith added.
Smith credited Englishtown Councilman Greg Wojyn, an Ansell employee, with connecting him with the company.
Wojyn was unaware that the gloves had been released when contacted by MMM. He broke into tears when we informed him of such. “Oh my God, there are so many lives that are going to be saved,” he exclaimed through his tears. “They’re using 40,000 gloves per day in New York alone.”
“Congressman Smith is a very good man who always gets the job done,” Wojyn said after regaining some composure. “I am very happy that Ansell can help so many people.”
Ansell, a leading PPE provider, asked Congressman Smith for help in moving the massive shipment of gloves that were being held up by CBP. Smith explained that in total, 32.5 million gloves were being held at the port in Baltimore, MD, and 8.8 million more gloves were in Oakland, Calif.
Renae Leary, Ansell’s Chief Commercial Officer Americas, was grateful CBP released the gloves at a time when they are badly needed.
“Ansell is thankful for the efforts of Congressman Chris Smith and others to expedite the release of 40 million medical gloves into the United States,” Leary said. “During this pandemic, the lack of personal protective equipment for front-line medical workers is putting their lives and the lives of patients at risk. As a world leader in providing superior health and safety solutions, Ansell is pleased that the US Customs and Border Protection agency has made the decision to release this supply to healthcare facilities across the United States where it is needed most.”
“In light of that fact that New Jersey has the second highest number of cases of any state in the country, Ansell has assured me that many of these will be put to use here in New Jersey,” Smith said.