High concentrations of natural rubber latex allergens in gloves used by laboratory health personnel in South Africa

  • ME Ratshikhopha
  • TS Singh
  • D Jones
  • MF Jeebhay
  • AL Lopata


Introduction. Gloves made of natural rubber latex (NRL) are commonly used by healthcare workers because of their good qualities. However, allergic reactions to latex allergens are still commonly reported.
Objective. To measure the concentrations of Hev b 1, Hev b 3, Hev b 5 and Hev b 6.02 allergens in gloves used by a large laboratory service in South Africa.
Methods. NRL gloves as well as non-latex gloves supplied by various suppliers that were used by the laboratory personnel during the period June 2009 - May 2010 were obtained from various suppliers on the vendor list. Proteins were extracted from the gloves and Hev b 1, Hev b 3, Hev b 5 and Hev b 6.02 allergens were quantified using the FITkit assay.
Results. Twenty NRL gloves from 13 different brands were analysed. Only four (20%) of the 20 NRL gloves analysed had a total allergen content <0.15 μg/g, the suggested threshold limit for low allergenicity for the sum of these four allergens.
Conclusion. This study demonstrated that a very low proportion of gloves tested had a total allergen content below the threshold for low allergenicity.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0256-95749
print ISSN: 2078-5135