Some people have allergies to proteins found in products containing natural rubber latex. The degree of allergic reactions may range from simple irritation and itching to anaphylactic shock and death. It is thought that frequent exposure to latex may lead to the development of latex allergies and the worsening of reactions in those already sensitized. Several studies found that from 8-12.5% of health care workers suffer from some form of latex sensitivity, as well as 40-65% of children with Spina Bifada and patients who undergo frequent medical procedures (Brown, 1998 and NIOSH, 1997).

Products using latex in the hospital include:

adhesive tape condoms injection ports
balloons dental dams IV tubing ports
bandaids diaper elastic medication vials
bottle nipples elastic bandages rubber bands
catheters erasers tires
clothing gloves tourniquets

There are a number of organizations working on alternatives to latex.