Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rubber rubs some the wrong way

Latex allergies are not common, but we should be aware that some do suffer from them and adjust accordingly when preparing food for strangers. I got this letter after my recent tips column on using thin latex gloves to protect the hands when making meatloaf and using the heavy ones for dishwashing to open jars.

I caught your tips on using natural rubber latex gloves or plastic when preparing food, washing utensils, or opening a tough jar lid. It would be great for us with natural rubber latex allergy if you would promote the use of plastic, vinyl, or nitrile gloves when preparing food or handling dishes and utensils used to prepare foods. It really is unnecessary to use latex when there are so many alternatives available. There are latex free heavy duty nitrile dishwashing gloves made that serve the same purpose as the regular latex dishwashing gloves without the possibility of inducing a severe latex allergic reaction. Many with this allergy do not discover it until it has become life threatening. Often it mimics food poisoning, or a bad case of stomach flu after eating latex contaminated food.

Most people understand the severity of peanut allergies, and would not let a peanut allergic person eat a food prepared on a counter or off dishes that had been contaminated with peanuts. Likewise, those of us with natural rubber latex allergy react with life threatening anaphylaxis if we are served foods contaminated with latex proteins.

I wanted to let you know that NIOSH publications recommends that latex gloves not be used routinely when other options are available.

Six states have passed laws to ban the use of latex gloves in food service due to the allergens present that are transferred to food, utensils, and dishes that cause severe allergic reactions to latex. The gloves also sensitize individuals resulting in workers compensation claims due to developing an allergy to natural rubber latex.

Information at:
The American Latex Allergy Association: Provides resources for people allergic to natural rubber latex, including latex free alternative product lists, informational packets, support groups, and a newsletter.

Latex Allergy Links
Comprehensive current data base of resources, msg. board,
"What's New" is a good link to check

Many of us are devastated after developing natural rubber latex allergy, I wasn't a healthcare worker, or someone who thought they were at high risk of developing this allergy. I did have a few surgeries that exposed me to this allergen, now I am totally disabled due to the severity of this allergy. I can no longer even attempt to eat at a restaurant due to the many foods bought from suppliers that use latex gloves, or the use of latex gloves in restaurants that contaminate my food.

My mission is to keep others safe from developing this allergy, and to offer safe places to eat for others not as severely affected by this allergy as I am.
I own a web based support group for those allergic to natural rubber latex, sadly our membership continues to grow:

~ Ora Ruppel
Owner/moderator LAForum

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