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8058_Gamgee_Logo_RGB1.pngRobinson Healthcare is the UK’s leading manufacturer of high quality medical absorbents and has the only volume cotton wool manufacturing plant in the UK. Products include Gamgee Tissue, originally invented in 1880 and continually improved up to today, where it is still manufactured and is the market leader in Gauze and Cotton Tissue products.


Excellence in medical absorbents can be traced back to the 1850’s when Robinson Healthcare was the first company in the world to mechanise the production of absorbent lint and 1885, when the company took out the world’s first patent for a sanitary towel.





Conforming to British Pharmacopoeia


Today, products are developed to the meet the latest standards and benefit from modern, high quality manufacturing. The result is highly effective, high performance absorbents designed primarily as secondary wound dressings but suitable for many other purposes. Where applicable, Robinson Healthcare cotton wool products conform to the British Pharmacopoeia monograph. The British Pharmacopoeia (BP) is the official collection of standards for UK medicinal products and pharmaceutical substances, including surgical dressings.




High Quality Material & Manufacturing


Meeting the stringent standards stated in the BP monograph for absorbent cotton requires the use of high quality raw materials and careful attention to manufacturing techniques. In order to claim compliance with BP quality standards, products must conform to every aspect of the monograph. The table below sets out the main requirements for absorbent cotton, why they are important and how Robinson Healthcare compares to the standard.


Virtually all Robinson Healthcare absorbents are manufactured in compliance with the appropriate British Pharmacopoeia (BP) or European Pharmacopoeia (EP) monographs. In addition, raw material (cotton) undergoes microbiological testing to ensure that they comply with the company’s stringent requirements for low microbial count. Finished product also regularly goes through the same laboratory tests to maintain quality.


Raw material is also passed through a multi-phase magnetic removal process to ensure no metal contamination. Every finished product also passes through final stage electronic metal detection for ferrous and non-ferrous materials for added safety. All light fittings in the production area are enclosed to prevent any possible glass contamination.

Finished product is regularly tested in Robinson Healthcare’s onsite laboratory to ensure compliance with the appropriate BP and EP monographs.


>> Click here for a printer friendly version of the table below.

Absorbent Cotton Quality and Performance


Technical Feature

BP Requirement


Robinson Healthcare Product


Water Holding Capacity (g/g)

Min 23g/g

High absorbency is essential for cotton wool otherwise it cannot work effectively at absorbing fluids or exudate.



Sinking Time (seconds)

10 secs maximum

The cotton wool must also be able to absorb fluids very quickly in order to perform effectively and draw exudate from the wound site.

< 5 secs


Ave Fibre Length

Not less than 10mm

Fibre length can indicate the quality of cotton wool and how heavily processed it is. Short fibre lengths can weaken the cotton wool and can cause dust when shaken, or lead to excessive linting.

> 10mm



Not more than European Pharmacopoeia sample

Neps are microscopic balls of entangled cotton fibres. A high number gives the cotton wool a poor appearance and a rough feel.

In accordance with European

Pharmacopoeia (EP)


Trash Content

Traces only

Trash consists of contaminants such as natural leaf, stalk, husk and cotton seeds. This can scratch delicate skin and gives a poor appearance.

Traces only


pH Level

Neither strongly acidic or alkaline

To prevent potential skin irritation, the pH level should be within neutral limits, making the cotton wool mild to the skin. Strongly Acidic or Alkaline pH levels can be created by poor processing when bleaching.

Within neutral limits of pH 5-8


Surface Active Agents


Max 2mm of froth when cotton sample agitated with water in BP test

Surface active agents can cause skin irritation when present. Cotton wool is generally used next to or close to the skin and so the presence of surface active agents should be eliminated if possible.




Acceptable softness only

Micronaire indicates cotton thickness. Thick fibres give the cotton wool a coarse feel in use. A reading of 5 or less can be considered acceptable.




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