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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2002 Jan;109(1):131-5.

Changes in rates of natural rubber latex sensitivity among dental school students and staff members after changes in latex gloves.

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  • 1Gage Occupational and Environmental Health Unit, University of Toronto, St Michael's and Toronto Western Hospitals.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

A high rate of sensitization and clinical allergy to natural rubber latex (NRL) gloves has been reported in dental students and staff members.

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this study was to determine whether a change in glove use from high-protein/powdered to low-protein/powder-free latex gloves at a previously surveyed dental school reduced the prevalence of NRL sensitivity among students and staff members.

METHODS:

A cross-sectional study was performed through use of a questionnaire and skin prick testing to low ammoniated NRL extract; the method was similar to that used in a study conducted in 1995. Analyses were performed on the entire groups as well as on a subset of senior students.

RESULTS:

A total of 97 subjects (61 students and 36 staff members) completed the questionnaire and underwent skin prick testing; this compared with 131 subjects in 1995. Percentages of subjects reporting asthma symptoms, rhinitis or conjunctivitis, urticaria, or pruritus within minutes of NRL exposure were 4%, 7%, 6%, and 8%, respectively; the corresponding percentages in the 1995 survey were 7% (P = not significant), 13% (P = not significant), 20% (P =.004), and 22% (P =.005). Results were similar for the subset of senior students, but in addition there were also significantly fewer complaints of rhinoconjunctivitis in 2000 than in 1995 (0% and 12%, respectively; P =.007). Of 97 subjects who underwent skin prick testing, 3 (3%) had positive skin prick test responses of 2+ or greater to NRL; this compared with 13 (10%) of 131 subjects in 1995 (P =.03). There were 3 positive skin test responses among staff members in 2000; there were none among students.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our results suggest a preventive effect on NRL allergy in dental students from the change to low-protein/powder-free NRL gloves in the dental school.

PMID:
11799379
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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