For many years, Dothan had a sobriquet that rivaled its claim as Peanut Capital of the World. In some circles, it was referred to as the Condom Capital of the World because of the thriving production of latex products — including condoms — at a facility that began as Akwell Industries before becoming Ansell.

In the late 1980s, the growing AIDS scare prompted then-Surgeon General C. Everett Koop to endorse condoms as the safest protection against transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus through sexual contact. After that statement, Ansell’s production ballooned by 20%; several years later, another latex plant, Alatech, began producing condoms in Dothan.

Today Alatech is gone, as is Ansell’s condom production and packaging in the city. Celebrity Steve Harvey invested in a factory that operated for a while in Eufaula, but it’s closed too.

However, an injection of capital and new investment will soon resurrect the Eufaula plant. Medical Industries of the Americas will begin production of latex products at the facility in the coming months, and state Department of Commerce officials say the initiative could create as many as 400 jobs.

That’s great news for Eufaula and the entire area, as the history of latex work in the area likely means there are a number of workers with experience in the industry who can help the company produce its targeted 500,000 condoms per day.

We applaud Medical Industries of the Americas for its investment in our corner of the state, and wish the organization well in its production of latex products.

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