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Keep a lookout for latex
With the increased use of personal protective equipment during the pandemic, there is the potential for workers to develop allergic reactions to items containing latex, warns the Health & Safety Executive.
Latex allergy most commonly manifests itself as localised urticaria, however other symptoms include allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, asthma and, rarely, anaphylaxis.
An allergic reaction can occur when skin comes into contact with the proteins contained in the natural rubber that the latex is produced from and that haven't been removed as part of the production process.
In order to verify whether products could be causing latex allergies, HSE offers immunoassay standard testing for four of the most common latex allergens. It can also provide occupational hygiene testing for workers environmentally exposed to latex e.g. in the course of spraying latex as a specialist application.
Natural rubber latex proteins are substances hazardous to health under COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations). Therefore, COSHH and the COSHH ACOP (Approved Code of Practice) apply, including the specific requirements for the control of substances that cause occupational asthma.
HSE's website contains free information and guidance about managing the health risks posed by exposure to latex.
1st October 2020