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Latex allergen reservoirs in two hospital buildings.

Rao-C; Weissman-D; Kullman-G; Cox-Ganser-J
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 10-15, 2003, Dallas, Texas. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2003 May; :23-24
An investigation was conducted in two hospital buildings that provide tertiary healthcare services for North-central Montana. Although powdered latex glove use was being phased out, there were concerns over potential reservoirs and airborne exposures of latex allergen. We evaluated latex allergen concentrations in air and in settled dusts collected from floors, chairs, and ventilation systems. Air sampling and ventilation dust microvacuum sampling were conducted using 2micrometer pore size, 37-millimeter (mm) polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) filters in open faced cassettes. Air sampling time was during the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for four days. Floor and chair dusts were collected onto 142rum diameter glass fiber filters with a commercial vacuum. The filters and dusts were analyzed for latex allergen using a competitive inhibition immunoassay. Latex concentrations in air were below the limit of detection for the method (LOD = 0.16 ng latex allergen/m3). Hospital B had significantly higher concentrations of latex allergen in ventilation system dust than Hospital A. Latex concentrations in ventilation system dust ranged from <LOD to 376 ng/mg of dust. Sixty-two percent of the ventilation dust samples were below the limit of detection (21/34). Latex concentrations in the floor and chair dust ranged from 0.05 to 108 ng/m2 in the floor and 0.35 to 274 ng/chair in the chair samples. The overall geometric means across all floor and chair sampling sites were 1.26 ng/m2 and 24.1 ng/chair, respectively. Although the air samples were negative, there were reservoirs of latex allergens in the hospitals. To protect sensitized individuals, it would be prudent to properly clean these areas to lower the potential for re-aerosolization and occupant exposures.
Allergens; Health-care; Health-care-facilities; Airborne-particles; Airborne-dusts; Dust-particles; Dusts; Particulate-dust; Particulates; Ventilation-systems; Air-sampling
Publication Date
Document Type
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Disease and Injury: Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Source Name
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 10-15, 2003, Dallas, Texas
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division