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Natural rubber latex: glove use, sensitization, and airborne and latent dust concentrations at a Denver hospital.
Page EH; Esswein EJ; Petersen MR; Lewis DM; Bledsoe TA
J Occup Environ Med 2000 Jun; 42(6):613-620
Exposure to natural rubber latex may cause immediate hypersensitivity reactions. Published latex sensitization prevalence rates range from 2.9% to 22% among health care workers, and from 0.12% to about 20% of occupationally unexposed populations. In this study, self-administered questionnaires addressed job and personal characteristics, glove use, and symptoms in two groups of hospital workers: those who regularly used latex gloves and those who did not. Serum was tested for latex-specific immunoglobulin E. Air, surface, and air-filter dust samples for natural rubber latex were collected. The prevalence of latex sensitization was 6.3% in the non-users and 6.1% in the latex glove users (P = 0.9); 81.3% of sensitized workers were atopic compared with 59.5% of non-sensitized workers (P < 0.05). Reporting of work-related hand dermatitis was more common in the latex glove users (23.4%) than in the non-users (4.9%), as were rhino-conjunctivitis (16.3% and 7.9%, respectively, [P < 0.01]), and hand urticaria (9.9% and 2.1%, respectively, [P < 0.01]). There was no significant difference in work-related symptoms between the sensitized and non-sensitized workers. Environmental concentrations of latex were higher in the work areas of the non-sensitized workers, but higher in the clinical than in the non-clinical areas. Occupational latex glove use was not a risk factor for sensitization.
Gloves; Sensitization; Airborne particles; Airborne dusts; Dusts; Dust particles; Health care facilities; Medical facilities; Exposure levels; Exposure assessment; Hypersensitivity; Health care personnel; Questionnaires
Dr Elena H. Page, NIOSH, 4676 Columbia Parkway, MS R-10, Cincinnati, OH 45226-1998
Issue of Publication
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Page last reviewed: June 15, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division