Allergenicity of latex rubber products used in South African dental schools
Background. Latex sensitisation is recognised as a health problem among health care workers (HCWs) using latex products. The aim of this study was to quantify specific latex allergens in latex devices used in South African academic dental schools. The current study also compared the total protein content and the levels of specific allergens in these products.
Methods. Fourteen latex examination gloves (powdered and non-powdered) and five dental rubber dams, representing 6 brands, from five dental academic institutions were analysed for latex allergens and total protein. Total protein content was determined using the BioRad DC protein assay kit and natural rubber allergen levels using a capture enyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) specific for Hev b 1, Hev b 3, Hev b 5 and Hev b 6.02.
Results. Hev b 6.02 was found in higher concentrations than
other natural rubber latex (NRL) allergens in the products analysed. Hev b 5 content ranged from 0 to 9.2 ìg/g and Hev b 6.02 from 0.09 to 61.5 ìg/g of sample. Hev b 1 levels were below the detection limit (DL) for 79% of the samples (15/19). Dental dams showed higher allergen levels (median 80.91 ìg/ g) than latex gloves (median 11.34 ìg/g). Powdered rubber samples also showed higher allergen levels (median 40.54 ìg/g) than non-powdered samples (median 5.31 ìg/g). A
statistically significant correlation was observed between total
protein and total allergen (r=0.74, p<0.001) concentrations.
Conclusion. NRL allergen concentrations differ significantly by
product and brand. This study has demonstrated that NRL allergens in latex-containing products used in South African dental institutions are present at sufficiently high levels to pose an allergic health risk.
Copyright remains in the Author’s name. The work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial Works License. Authors are required to complete and sign an Author Agreement form that outlines Author and Publisher rights and terms of publication. The Agreement form should be uploaded along with other submissions files and any submission will be considered incomplete without it [forthcoming].
Material submitted for publication in the SAMJ is accepted provided it has not been published or submitted for publication elsewhere. Please inform the editorial team if the main findings of your paper have been presented at a conference and published in abstract form, to avoid copyright infringement. The SAMJ does not hold itself responsible for statements made by the authors.
Previously published images
If an image/figure has been previously published, permission to reproduce or alter it must be obtained by the authors from the original publisher and the figure legend must give full credit to the original source. This credit should be accompanied by a letter indicating that permission to reproduce the image has been granted to the author/s. This letter should be uploaded as a supplementary file during submission.