NIOSH Alerts Home Healthcare Workers About Latex Allergies
NIOSH, The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, has published a booklet to educate Home Healthcare Workers about preventing latex allergies. Latex products are made from natural rubber, and sensitivity can develop after repeated exposure. Limiting exposure to latex can help prevent allergic reactions for home healthcare workers and their clients.
Once Natural Rubber Latex (NRL) sensitivity occurs, allergic individuals continue to experience symptoms, including life-threatening reactions, not only on exposure to NRL in the workplace but also upon receiving or accompanying a family member receiving healthcare services at inpatient as well as office-based settings.
In September of 1997, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final rule requiring cautionary statements in the labeling of all medical devices that contain natural rubber likely to come in contact with humans. The rule provides that such products must contain the following cautionary statement in bold print: "Caution: This product contains natural rubber latex which may cause allergic reactions." Additionally, the FDA issued a final ruling that the labeling of medical devices that contain natural rubber, likely to come in contact with humans, shall not contain the term "hypoallergenic."
Over the last few years, there has been a significant increase in the number of workers' compensation claims filed against employers on behalf of individuals who have suffered latex allergic reactions. Scientists and government officials estimate that about 950,000 U.S. healthcare workers have developed an allergic sensitivity to latex.
NIOSH: Latex AllergisLatex gloves have proved effective in preventing transmission of many infectious diseases to health care workers. But for some workers, exposures to latex may result in allergic reactions. Reports of such reactions have increased in recent years–especially among health care workers.
OSHA: Latex AllergyAllergy to latex was first recognized in the late 1970s. Since then, it has become a major health concern as an increased number of people in the workplace are affected. Health care workers exposed to latex gloves or medical products containing latex are especially at risk. It is estimated that 8-12% of health care workers are latex sensitive. Between 1988-1992, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) received more than 1,000 reports of adverse health effects from exposure to latex, including 15 d
CDC: Contact Dermatitis & Latex AllergyContact dermatitis can develop from frequent and repeated use of hand hygiene products, exposure to chemicals, and glove use