Allergy to latex was first recognized in the late 1970s. Since then, it has become a major health concern as an increased number of people in the workplace are affected. Health care workers exposed to latex gloves or medical products containing latex are especially at risk. It is estimated that 8-12% of health care workers are latex sensitive. Between 1988-1992, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) received more than 1,000 reports of adverse health effects from exposure to latex, including 15 deaths due to such exposure.
As used in this topic, latex refers to the natural rubber latex manufactured from a milky fluid that is primarily obtained from the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis). Some synthetic rubber materials may be referred to as "latex" but do not contain the natural rubber proteins responsible for latex allergy symptoms.
Highlights documents that provide safety and health information regarding latex allergy prevention.