Workers in hospitals and dental surgeries need to wear latex gloves to protect them from infections, including HIV and hepatitis. The gloves are dusted with a fine starch to lubricate them and this starch bonds to the latex proteins in the gloves and carries them into the air. These particles can cause asthma and dermatitis in one in 10 of those who wear latex gloves or who regularly come into contact with latex.
If someone who is allergic to latex is operated on by a surgeon wearing latex gloves and latex enters their blood stream they can go into anaphylactic shock. If you know you have an allergy of this sort make sure you tell the surgeon at your initial consultation. If you work in environment such as a hospital where the air is full of latex proteins and you develop an allergy, you may have to leave your job wholesale latex gloves.
Merely avoiding latex will probably be enough. A study of hospital staff showed that 3 percent were allergic to latex. A survey in a latex glove factory revealed that 3.7 percent of workers had asthma caused by latex. It is not only factory and farm workers who are exposed to substances that could trigger an allergic response. Modern offices can also be hazardous places.
Printers and photocopiers give off toxic gases and particles, and the equipment is often not in a room by itself. In addition, rooms are usually poorly ventilated. Items of furniture such as carpets and office seating can out gas, in other words, give off gases. Carpets, for instance, can exude a cocktail of harmful gases including toluene and benzene.