Latex is a natural product made from the milky sap of the rubber tree (Heavea Brasillienus). Its durability, flexibility and low manufacturing costs has made latex a popular material.
A latex allergy is a reaction to products made from natural rubber latex. the reactive is proteins originating from the rubber tree and present in products made of natural rubber latex.

Allergies develop when the immune system reacts to the proteins as if they were harmful. Extended exposure builds antibodies which build up in the immune system. The antibodies “attack” the proteins with powerful chemicals causing an allergic reaction.

Latex exposure occurs through:

  • Contact with skin or mucous membranes (eyes, mouth, genitals, bladder or rectum)
  • Breathing dust particles containing latex proteins

Anyone who comes into contact with latex has some risk of developing latex allergies. people with extended exposure who may pose higher risk include:

  • Patients whose regular care involves latex
  • Healthcare workers
  • People who work with other latex products

Persons with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, congenital urological abnormalities, cerebral palsy and Dandy-Walker syndrome are all at particular risk due to repeated exposure during surgical procedures and at home care associated with these disabilities (catheterization may also put people at risk).

There are varying severities of allergic reaction:

Mild reaction symptoms may include:
• skin rash

Photo source: Ansell

• hives
• itchy, watery eyes
• runny nose
• redness in area where contact occurred

More serious reaction symptoms may include:
• drop in blood pressure
• rapid heart rate
• swelling of the throat
• wheezing and difficulty breathing
• flushed face
• change of color
• stomach cramps or diarrhea
• vomiting
• fainting or loss of consciousness

 

Latex is found in several products around the home and health care setting:

  • latex/rubber gloves
  • catheters
  • blood pressure
  • rubber top vials
  • Photo source: Sort and Toss

  • tourniquets
  • IV injection ports
  • IV tubing
  • enema tips
  • anesthesia masks
  • feeding tubes
  • balloons
  • carpet backing
  • condoms and diaphragms
  • elastic on socks and other clothing
  • bandages
  • water toys
  • hand grips on rackets and tools
  • erasers
  • glue
  • pens and crayons
  • plants (rubber tree and poinsettia)

Decorative Supplies:

Balloons:

  • Mister Balloon (www.misterballoon.com)
  • Mylar, vinyl, or plastic balloons

School/Office Supplies:
Adhesives:

  • 3M – Scotch Magic Tape, Post-its, 3650 Storage Tape, Transparent Duct Tape (regular duct tape is not latex free), Command Poster Strips, Command Interlocking Fasteners, Scotch Adhesive Putty, Scotch Glue Sticks

Calculator Buttons:

  • Texas Instruments calculators are latex free

Drawing Pencils:

  • Crayola – Crayola Colored Pencils, Crayola Watercolor Pencils
  • RoseArt – Colored Pencils

Erasers:

  • Baumgarten’s – Neon erasers
  • Faber-Castell – All eraser products are latex free and PVC free EXCEPT Perfection Eraser Pencil
  • Jakks Pacific – Latex Free Erasers, Pental- Click erasers
  • RoseArt – All erasers are latex free
  • Sanford – All eraser products are latex free EXCEPT Arrowhead Cap Erasers, Design Kneaded Rubber Eraser, Union Eraser, Pink Pearl Eraser, Pink Pet, Paper Eraser Max
  • Soap erasers

Glue/Paste:

  • 3M – Scotch glue sticks
  • Avery – All glue sticks, labels, T-shirts transfers
  • Crayola – All glue
  • Elmer’s – All glue EXCEPT rubber cement and Sno-Drift paste

Modeling Clay:

  • Crayola – Crayola Dough, Crayola Modeling Clay, Crayola Model Magic and Silly Putty
  • Hasbro – Play-Doh (Hasbro will state whether latex is used in the product on the package)
  • Polyform Products Co. – Granitex. Sculpey, Sculpey III, Super Elasticlay, Super Sculpey

Mouse Pads:

  • 3M – Percise Mousing Surface with or without the Gel Wrist Rest
  • Quill
  • Vinyl sheeting can be cut into pad-sized squares
  • *It is important to get rid of all natural rubber latex mouse pads from the home, as the proteins can be picked up throughout the house.*

Paint:

  • Crayola – All crayola Paints including Artista II, Watercolors, Washable Paint, Finger Paint, Powder Paint, and Liquid Tempera Paint

Pen/Pencil Grips:

  • Hoyle products Inc – All Hoyle grips are made of vinyl and are latex-free including adjustable rulers, curves for drafting use

Pens:

  • Paper Mate – ZeZe Ball Point Pens, Silhouette Ball Point Pens, Comfort Grip Pens, Dynagrip Pens, Flexgrip Pens
  • RoseArt – All pens
  • Sanford – All pens

Rubber Bands:

  • Alliance Rubber Company – Latex free, anti-microbial line of rubber bands available
  • Baumgarten’s – Plasti Bands
  • Latex-free bands can be ordered through Home Depot

Infants and Children

Diapers/Rubber Pants:

  • Kimberly Clark – Huggies, Drypers Diapers, Pull-Ups, Pampers, Luvs

Feeding Nipples:

  • Evenflo – Silicone (read-label, some are latex)
  • Gerber – Silicone (read label, some are latex)
  • MAM – Silicone (read label, some are latex)

Pacifiers:

  • Evenflo – Silicone (read-label, some are latex)
  • Gerber – Silicone (read label, some are latex)
  • Playtex – Binky
  • Soothies (Children’s Med Ventures)
  • Infa
  • Kip
  • MAM
  • Use plastic, silicone, or vinyl

Tooth Massager:

  • Butler – GUM toothbrushes
  • Crest – Reach soft bristle
  • Gerber/NUK
  • Oral B – All Oral B products are latex free
  • Most are synthetic – please check with the manufacturer

Toys:

  • Especially Rubber Ducky, Teething Toys, Stretch Armstrong and old Barbies
  • Use plastic, cloth, or vinyl
  • Many toys are latex free (check with manufacturer)
  • Mattel
  • Fisher Price

Technics:

  • Discovery Toys
  • Evenflo/Gerry
  • Gerber
  • Graco/Century
  • Hasbro
  • Kenner
  • Lego
  • Little Tykes
  • Milton Bradley
  • Norfin
  • Ohio Art
  • Parker Bros.
  • Peg Perego
  • Power Wheels
  • Safety First/Cosco
  • Silly Putty
  • The First Years

Household Products

Adhesives:

  • 3M – Scotch Magic Tape, Post-Its, 3650 Storage Tape, Transparent Duct Tape (regular duct tape is not latex free), Command Poster Strips, Command Interlocking Fasteners, Scotch Adhesive Putty, Scotch Glue Sticks

Auto Mats/Steering Wheel:

  • Use vinyl, clear, fabric, or leather floor mats
  • Cover steering wheel with latex-free cover

Bath Mats/Rugs:

  • Cotton rugs without rubber backing
  • Foam Products – Synthetic non-skid pads
  • Safety.com – Vinyl bath mat
  • Slip-X – Vinyl bath mats

Buttons on Phones, Remotes and Calculators:

  • Texas instruments calculator buttons are latex free
  • Most are silicone rubber (check with manufacturer)

Chair Pads:

  • Acoustic Resources – Quiet Feet pads are latex free. These are adhered to chair legs to reduce noise, and scratching or floors

Drain Stoppers:

  • Slip-X
  • W2 Products – Silicone Magic Plug

Earphones:

  • Avid Products
  • Plantronics – H series (H31, H41, H51,H61,H81) and Polaris models (P31, P41, P51, P61, P81) are latex free

Foam Rubber:

  • Synthetic foam

Food Storage:

  • Tupperware
  • Ziploc – Glad Press N Seal
  • Kerr – Canning jar lid seal is latex free
  • Yoplait yogurt – Glue sealing lid onto container is latex free
  • Use wax paper, HandiWrap, or Saran wrap

Garden Hoses:

  • Vinyl

Gaskets:

  • Neoprene, silicone

Gloves (Kitchen/Household):

  • Use vinyl, neoprene, nitrile or polymer golves
  • Allerderm – Nitrile, vinyl or cotton liners
  • Kimberly Clark – Safeskin
  • Maxxim – Sensicare, Tru-Touch, Aloetouch, Accutouch, MediGaurd
  • Regent – Neotech, Skinsense, Magla PVC MYPLEX

Glue (Evelopes/ Stamps):

  • Moisten with a wet cloth instead of licking

Mattress for beds:

  • NaturePedic – mattress sized for newborns to adults

Phone Receiver/Shoulder Rest :

  • Avoid direct contact with skin
  • See above list for latex-free earphones

Plants (Fichus/Poinsettia):

    Don’t let sap touch skin

Silk Flowers:

  • Avoid contact with skin

Spatulas:

  • Use wooden, plastic, or synthetic
  • Pampered Chef

Tools with Rubber Handles:

  • Use vinyl or leather handles
  • Cover with latex-free tape

Clothing

Undergarments/Elastic:

  • Blue Canoe – latex-free clothing
  • Decent Exposures – Latex-free elastic for bras, underwear, and swim suits
  • Dr. Leonard’s Healthcare Catalog – Non-binding, latex-free cotton socks
  • Her Room – Latex-free bras
  • Cottinque – Latex-free underwear
  • TechSpun – Latex-free socks
  • Vermont Country Store – Latex-free socks
  • Cotton socks without elastic

Pantyhose:

  • L’eggs
  • Lyrca – Spandex
  • Tuck clothing under elastic waistband

Raincoats:

  • Neoprene – Coated nylon

Socks, Shoes/Rubber:

  • Cottonique
  • Crocs – Latex-free clogs, boots, and flip-flops
  • P.W. Minor – Rubber-free sport shoe

Boots:

  • Gempler’s PVC waterproof boots
  • Minnetonka – Moccasins
  • Nine West – All shoes EXCEPT running shoes
  • Superfeet

Stretch Fabrics (Some):

  • DuPont – Lycra/Spandex

Swimsuits:

  • Suits Me Swimwear
  • Decent Exposures

T-Shirt with Appliques:

  • Avoid contact of applique with skin

Watches:

  • Addidas – All watches are latex free made from polyurethane

Personal Products

Contraception:

  • Durex – Avanti
  • FemCap – FDA-approved, latex-free contraceptive device
  • Milex – Silicone diaphragm
  • Trojan – Supra
  • The Female Health Company – FC Female Condom

Cosmetics/Applicators:

    • All Natural Cosmetics
    • Clinique
    • Luminescence
    • Revlon – All products are latex-free, including applicator foam wands and puffs, as well as the pads on the eyelash curlers.
    • Qosmedix – Latex-free applicator sponges
    • Use cotton balls or brushes

*Some cosmetics may contain papain, a papaya derivative that can cross react with latex*

Hair care Supplies:

  • Back to Basics – All hair care products are latex free

Incontinence Supplies:

  • Kimberly Clark – Depend, Poise
  • First Quality
  • Tranquility
  • Health Pursuit
  • Adult protective disposable underwear

Sanitary Pads:

  • Kimberly Clark – Kotex
  • NatraCare
  • Gladrags
  • Diva Cup – Reusable silicone cup
  • Mooncup – Reusable silicone cup

Toothbrush Handles:

  • Most are synthetic (check with manufacturer)
  • Butler – GUM toothbrushes
  • Crest – Reach soft bristle
  • Oral B

Home Medical Supplies

Bandages:

  • 3M – NexCare Active Foam bandages are latex-free
  • Johnson & Johnson – Advanced Healing and Active Flex Band-Aids are latex free
  • Kendall – Curity bandages are latex-free
  • Sterile dressing with paper, silk, or cloth tape:
  • NHP
  • Coverlet
  • Advanced Healing (some contain latex, check label)
  • Latex in packaging only: ReadiBandages, Active Strip (3M), CURAD Neon, Nu Derm by Johnson & Johnson Band-Aid Brand

Braces/Splints:

Use cloth or felt to cover foam lining

Compression Stockings:

  • Ames Walker – Variety of Compression and standard socks (most are latex-free)
  • Jobst – Compriform Custom, Latex-free TEDS

Crutches:

  • Cover pads/grips with cloth type or tape
  • Crutchtips.com – Latex-free crutch pads and grips

EKG Leads:

  • Life Sync – Life Sync Leadwear Disposable

Medical Tape:

  • Cloth, paper, or silk tape
  • Johnson & Johnson – Hurt Free, Dermicel
  • 3M – Transpore, Durapore, Micropore, Micro-foam Cath Strip Molepad
  • Hytape Pink

Wheelchair Seat/Tire/Brake:

  • Cover seat with fabric or neoprene cushion
  • Wear leather gloves to turn wheels
  • ROHO – cushions
  • Gaymar – Soft care bed/ chair cushions

Water Bottles (Hot & Cold):

  • Wrap cloth around water bottle, or use cloth-covered heating pad

Restaurants and Grocery Stores

Latex Gloves:

  • Synthetic, vinyl (inquire before eating)

Sports Equipment

Bike/Ski Helmets:

  • Boeri Sport

Bungee Cords:

  • Avoid direct contact with skin

Handles:

  • For Ping Pong Paddles, Golf Clubs, Baseball Bats, Rackets, Ski Poles and Bikes use vinyl or leather handles, or cover with tape or cloth

Mouth Guards:

  • Shock Doctor – Silicone

Rubber Balls:

    • Gopher Sport has latex-free balls, including volleyballs, physio balls, and foam balls

Do not use the following:

  • ALL Koosh products contain natural rubber latex!
  • Balzac Balloon Balls or Omnikin- both contain natural rubber latex balloon bladders
  • Gator Skin Balls – the outer coating contains natural rubber latex

*Some allergic individuals can use tennis balls that are new and completely covered. Bladders of tennis balls are natural rubber latex*

Other Balls:

    • Such as: Basketballs, Footballs, Soccer balls and baseballs

Check with manufacturer:

  • BSN MacGregor
  • Spalding
  • Rawlings
  • Wilson

 

Playground Markers/Cones/Baseball Bases:

  • Gropher Sport

Protective Eye wear:

    • Liberty Optical – Rec Specs are latex-free
    • Scott – Ski goggles: Foam around eyes is latex-free, but head strap

contains natural rubber latex

Swim Cap:

  • Use silicone swim caps:
  • Nike – Swift cap silicone swim caps
  • Dual Durometer – Dome molded Swim Cap
  • Snap-Cap
  • Speedo – Silicone Flag Swim Cap
  • TYR – Warmwear Swim Cap, Lycra Swim Cap

Do not use:

USA Flag Latex – Swim Cap or Canada Swim Cap as these contain latex

Googles:

  • Use silicone or vinyl goggles
  • Speedo – Hydrospex, Vanquisher goggles are latex-free. Latex-free replacement strap can be bought separately for other Speedo goggles
  • TYR – Racetech Reveal Goggles

* Some latex-allergic individuals may react to chlorine and/or latex proteins released from swimsuits and pool items due to chlorine *

Water Toys:

  • Use PVC or plastic toys

Wet Suits, Scuba/Snorkel Masks:

  • Neoprene or silicone

The above list was taken from the American Latex Allergy Association’s guide book: School Safety Guidelines For Latex-Allergic Students

Seven proteins have been identified in latex and some are structurally similar and “cross-reactive” with proteins in certain fruits. It is recommended that patients allergic to these fruits caution for potential latex allergy.
•Bananas                 •Papaya
•Avocados               •Peaches
•Chestnuts             •Kiwi
•Apples                     •Potatoes
•Carrots                   •Melons
•Celery                     •Walnuts
•Tomatoes               •Peanuts

Identifying sensitivity comes from a review of medical history, physical examination and blood evaluation. Three FDA approved tests for latex specific IgE antibodies (immunoassays) are:
Pharmacia & Upjohn CAP system
Diagnostic Products’ Alastat
Hycor Assay
Latex reagent diagnostic skin testing

If you live with a latex allergy you are encouraged to take the following precautions:

ul

  • Carry an adrenaline kit (Ana-kit or Epi-Pen) to treat possible severe reactions.
  • Use a Medic-Alert bracelet.
  • Carry a pair of latex-free gloves in case of emergency.
  • Always inform your doctor of latex concerns prior to surgical procedures so special precautions can be taken.
  • It is possible that a mild reaction and repeated exposure may develop into a more severe reaction.
  • A severe allergic reaction may occur without previous reactions.
  • The best treatment for latex allergies is avoidance.

For more information on Latex Allergies and latex-free products contact the following organizations:
Latexallergyresources.org
Latexallergylinks.tripod.com
Decentexposures.com


Click on any of the following links for more information on their topics:

Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s… or is it NPH?

Never heard of NPH? Well, you’re not alone. NPH, or Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, is not a widely known medical condition and is sometimes identified as “old age problems,” or as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. Yet over 375,000 Americans may be living with the disorder. It’s a condition where cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) – a clear fluid that… Read More

0 comments

Latex Allergies

Latex is a natural product made from the milky sap of the rubber tree (Heavea Brasillienus). Its durability, flexibility and low manufacturing costs has made latex a popular material. A latex allergy is a reaction to products made from natural rubber latex. the reactive is proteins originating from the rubber tree and present in products… Read More

0 comments

What is Hydrocephalus?

People born with spina bifida frequently also have hydrocephalus, however an individual may have hydrocephalus without having spina bifida. Hydrocephalus is a condition in which normal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) circulation patterns are interrupted. The two most common causes of this are accidents and birth defects; however hydrocephalus can also occur as a result of brain… Read More

0 comments

About Spina Bifida

As the number one disabling birth defect in Canada, spina bifida affects one out of every 1200 children born. It is classified as a neural tube defect (NTD) and occurs during the first four weeks of pregnancy. Spina bifida is the incomplete development of the nervous system and spinal cord, and results in varying degrees… Read More

0 comments
It's never too late

Folic Acid

Folic acid, also known as folate or folacin, is a B vitamin that is essential for the healthy development of a baby’s spine, brain and skull during the early weeks of pregnancy. Folic acid has been proven to help reduce the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs) by more than 70% if taken before pregnancy.… Read More

0 comments