Recommendations for Prevention of Latex Allergy
Latex allergy has increased in the last ten years, and occurs with relatively high frequency in certain at risk populations, especially health care workers, certain patients, and workers who may be required to use latex products in their day-to-day work environment. Reducing latex exposure to the maximum extent possible minimizes sensitization and development of new latex allergy cases.
The University's Environmental Health and Safety Committee (EHSC) recommends the following :
The routine use of latex gloves by food handlers, housekeepers, transport and medical personnel in low risk situations (e.g. food handling) is strongly discouraged. If latex gloves must be worn, choose powder free gloves with reduced protein content. Only low-antigen latex gloves should be purchased and used. This may reduce the occurrence of reactions among sensitized personnel and should reduce the rate of sensitization.
Use appropriate work practices to reduce the chance of reactions to latex.
When wearing latex gloves, do not use oil-based hand creams or lotions, which can cause glove deterioration, unless they have been shown to reduce latex related problems and maintain glove barrier protection.
After removing latex gloves, wash hands with mild soap and dry thoroughly. Use good housekeeping practices to remove latex-containing dust from the workplace. Take advantage of all latex allergy education and training provided.
If symptoms of latex allergy develop, avoid direct contact with latex gloves and other latex-containing products. Contact Occupational Medicine, Ground Floor Silverstein, HUP (215-662-2354) for evaluation.
(1) NIOSH Alert: Preventing Allergic Reactions to Natural Rubber Latex in the Workplace, National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety [NIOSH] www.cdc.gov/niosh/latexalt.html
Almanac, Vol. 47, No. 17, January 9, 2001