Latex Allergies in the Workplace

Latex is a type of rubber found in many everyday objects. Approximately 1 to 8% of people in the U.S. have latex sensitivity. This does not necessarily mean that they will have a major allergic reaction, but such situations do arise. Individuals working in certain fields are at greater risk of developing sensitivity and having a reaction to latex because of the prevalence of this material in their line of work.

Types of Reactions

There are two main types of reactions to latex in those with a sensitivity or allergy:

  • Type 1: This is the serious, life-threatening reaction many of us are familiar with. A person who has this severe allergy can experience trouble with their cardiac and pulmonary systems after coming into contact with latex. This is a form of anaphylactic shock.
  • Type 4: This allergic reaction presents as a form of contact dermatitis. It usually appears a while after contact with latex. Although it is not life-threatening, it can be quite painful. Skin can blister and ooze.

Either type of reaction will require medical attention and may necessitate time off work to recover.

At-Risk Groups

Latex exists in many everyday objects, such as balloons, rubber toys, rubber bands, and adhesives, for example. Anyone could have a reaction to such an object while in the workplace. However, healthcare workers and rubber industry workers are at greater risk because of their high rates of exposure. Latex is part of many healthcare supplies. 4 to 17% of healthcare workers experience latex sensitivity, and about 10% of industrial rubber workers do as well. It is important to note that type 4 latex allergy can progress to the life-threatening type 1 after continued exposure.

Contact Us

If you have experienced a workplace injury involving a latex allergy, the Raleigh workers’ compensation attorneys of Scudder Seguin, PLLC, can help. Call us today at 919- 851-3311 to speak with an experienced and dedicated attorney about your situation.