Latex Allergy Precautions

There are several latex allergy precautions that can be taken in the workplace. Employers can provide workers with nonlatex gloves when there is little potential for contact with infectious materials. Other precautions that employers may take include educating employees about latex allergy and screening high-risk workers periodically for latex allergy symptoms. Employees can take precautions by washing hands with mild soap (and drying them thoroughly) after wearing latex gloves and using good housekeeping procedures to remove latex-contaminated dust from the workplace.

An Overview of Latex Allergy Precautions

The following recommendations for preventing latex allergy in the workplace are based on current knowledge and a common-sense approach to minimizing latex-related health problems. Evolving manufacturing technology and improvements in measurement methods may lead to changes in these recommendations in the future. For now, adoption of the recommendations wherever feasible will contribute to the reduction of exposure and risk for the development of latex allergy symptoms.
 

Latex Allergy Precautions for Employers

Latex allergy can be prevented only if employers adopt policies to protect workers from undue latex exposures. Employers should take the following steps to protect workers from latex exposure and allergy in the workplace:
 
  • Provide workers with nonlatex gloves to use when there is little potential for contact with infectious materials (for example, in the food service industry).
     
  • If latex gloves are used, provide reduced-protein, powder-free gloves to protect workers from infectious materials. Appropriate barrier protection is necessary when handling infectious materials.
     
  • Ensure that workers use good housekeeping practices to remove latex-containing dust from the workplace:
o Identify areas contaminated with latex dust for frequent cleaning (upholstery, carpets, ventilation ducts, etc).
 
o Make sure that workers change ventilation filters and vacuum bags frequently in latex-contaminated areas.
  • Provide workers with education programs and training materials about latex allergy.
     
  • Periodically screen high-risk workers for latex allergy symptoms. Detecting symptoms early and removing symptomatic workers from latex exposure are essential for preventing long-term health effects.
     
  • Evaluate current prevention strategies whenever a worker is diagnosed with latex allergy.
     
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