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by Paul King
Thursday, Jul. 24, 2003 at 10:29 PM
"If the FDA discovers that the reactions are from the latex, a whole series of latex products could then be pulled of the market. This includes gloves, urinal bags, textile glue, glue for reclosing envelopes, balloons and condoms."
"If the FDA discovers that the reactions are from the latex, a whole series of latex products could then be pulled of the market. This includes gloves, urinal bags, textile glue, glue for reclosing envelopes, balloons and condoms.
Latex hypersensitivity is well documented but usually as a contact dermatitis caused by chemicals. However, increasing numbers of articles in medical journals are reporting “natural latex” as the cause of the reactions."
But what is natural latex? Even scientists can’t agree. Some believe natural latex changes its chemical makeup during storage. Others point out that the soil used to grow rubber trees, the source of latex, is liberally treated with fertilizers.
Immediate hypersensitivity is exemplified by the person allergic to shellfish whose tongue goes raw and swollen at a restaurant, or the person allergic to bees who is bitten and dies. These are due to the immune system's antibodies (in particular, immunoglobulin E, or "IgE") reacting to the tree proteins in the latex. Routes of exposure include aerosol, direct bloodstream contact (medically called "parenteral", such as by intravenous injection), direct gut contact (called "enteral", such as by eating), mucosal (such as exposure of the moist inner tissues of the vagina or penis to a condom), among others.
The CDC reports that one to six in every 100 Americans may be allergic to latex. If you are a healthcare worker (or are regularly exposed to natural latex rubber) your chances of developing this allergy jumps to 12%-18%. Because of the cornstarch powder used this allergen becomes airborne and can cause reactions when you are not even touching a latex product.
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