Results of wearing test with two different latex gloves with and without the use of skin-protection cream

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A total of 109 subjects reporting symptoms indicating type I hypersensitivity reactions to natural rubber latex (NRL) gloves was included in this study, and 66 of them had latex-specific IgE antibodies. They underwent provocation tests by wearing two types of NRL gloves with high(n=103) and low (n=75) allergen contents. The first glove type caused positive skin reactions in 30% of IgE-positive and in 3% of IgE-negative subjects. After application of a commercially available skin protection (barrier) cream, the frequencies of positive skin responses in wearing tests increased to 41% and 7%, respectively. The gloves with low allergen content did not cause hypersensitivity without skin-protection cream but induced responses in 5% of IgE-positive subjects when this cream was applied. Corresponding findings were obtained in intraindividual comparisons of test results, which were possible in 69 cases. Of all wearing-test responders, 92% had latex-specific IgE antibodies. Our results demonstrate that high allergen contents in latex gloves frequently elicite skin responses in NRL-sensitized subjects, and that skin-protection creams may favor the uptake of allergens from gloves, thus increasing allergic reactions. The stipulation of a legally binding threshold limit value (TLV) for allergens in NRL products is urgently needed. This TLV should not be set above 2 µg allergen/g rubber.

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