Latex allergies are more common than you might think. According to gomedicalonline.com, it is estimated that 6% of the United States population has a latex allergy.
Although that might not seem that large, the numbers grow when you look at the percentage of people with latex allergies who work with latex gloves on a regular or daily basis. 34% of children who have had 3 or more surgeries and 17% of healthcare and food workers have latex allergies. Why? The more exposure and contact you have with latex, the more likely you are to develop an allergy to it. If you don’t have an allergy, you likely haven’t had much exposure.
Due to these statistics and the chance of overexposure leading to an allergy, some states have started to take action and ensure the safety of their healthcare and food service workers by banning the use of latex gloves. So you are prepared and informed on these changes, here are the states that have banned latex, what latex allergy symptoms look like and what the alternatives are for disposable gloves.
What states in the US are now latex-free?
As of January 2020, the states that have banned latex gloves are:
- Rhode Island
Although the list is relatively small now, it is projected to keep growing. If you want to ensure that your staff and students are safe, consider switching to a different type of disposable glove prior to it being required in your state.
What are the symptoms of a latex allergy?
According to Mayo Clinic, reactions to and symptoms of a latex allergy are:
- Throat irritation
- Watery Eyes
- Runny nose
- Difficulty breathing
For some of the mild allergic reactions listed above, taking an over the counter Antihistamine can help relieve symptoms, but if you are concerned about your reaction please call your doctor or seek emergency medical services.
What are the alternatives to latex?
Fortunately, getting rid of latex gloves is not that much of an imposition. There are a few other solutions for people in the healthcare and food industry like Nitrile and Vinyl gloves both of which can be bought from places like Amazon.com or Gomedicalonline.com.
All in all, it’s great that states are aware of the severity of latex allergies and taking action. Fortunately, there are other simple solutions for disposable gloves that will help people in the healthcare and foodservice industry continue their work with the same ease of disposable gloves.
To learn more about other allergens that affect the foodservice industry, head to our blog on food allergens and the Natalie Giorgi Sunshine Act. It discusses the most common foods that people are allergic to and allergic reactions from mild to severe. We encourage everyone to download, print and post it in a location for employees and students to see as a reminder.