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Workers' compensation claims from latex glove use [Comment on article by Horwitz IB and Arvey RD].

Petsonk EL; Liss GM
J Occup Environ Med 2001 Jul; 43(7):590
The article by Horwitz and Arvey in the September 2000 issue of the Journal reports data on workers' compensation claims from health care occupations obtained from the Minnesota program. The authors, from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, sought to draw conclusions regarding the prevalence and monetary costs of allergy to natural rubber latex (NRL) among health care workers. They were supported in this work by Allegiance Healthcare Corporation. (Although not mentioned in the article, Allegiance is one of the world's largest suppliers of NRL medical gloves.) The report is deficient in a number of areas. The methods are not adequately described. The authors report the Standard Industrial Classification codes that were included in the study but not the International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, codes. They indicate that claims that were filed but not awarded were excluded from the analysis; pending claims were also apparently excluded, but this is not defined. All other claims were also excluded unless they were deemed consistent with what would be expected from a latex-allergy claim. The basis for the judgments implied by consistent with what would be expected is not fully defined, particularly the source of the expertise used in these determinations, inasmuch as neither author is a medical professional. The reader does not know how NRL allergy claims were identified or how cases were excluded. Also missing are aspects of the description of the administration of the Minnesota Workers' Compensation system, including the general criteria for acceptance of claims related to occupational asthma or allergy, the proportion of such claims that have been rejected, and the time course, number, and type of pending claims.
Gloves; Health-care-personnel; Occupational-diseases; Alpha-emitters; Allergic-reactions; Bronchial-asthma; Diseases
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Journal Article
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NIOSH Division
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Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division