Thursday, September 4, 2008

There is latex in what?

A friend of mine has an allergy to latex. Because of this I have found out that latex is in a lot of things most of us don’t even think about. Rubber bands for one, some clothing and now it can be found in food. One website on latex allergies I found said that “Latex is used in making condoms, diapers, rubber bands, rubber toys, sanitary pads, adhesive tape, balloons, urinary catheters, and exam gloves. Individuals that are allergic to latex can also be allergic to banana, avocado, kiwi fruit, chestnut, and tomato.”

There has been some research done regarding the transfer of latex from a glove to cheese and then from the cheese to other foods. Latex protein studies have shown that using latex gloves to handle the cheese leaves this latex protein on it. It seems that cheese is often coated with latex to keep it from molding. So if latex from a glove can be transferred to cheese then how much latex is in the cheese if it has been coated with it? Some latex gloves have cornstarch in them, it seems the latex protein attaches to the cornstarch and can become airborne causing the air in that work area, often hospitals, to have latex particles floating around waiting for someone to breath them in.

My friend is unable to eat pizza now because every time she orders in she has an allergic reaction from the cheese. Now it may just be that the food handlers are using latex gloves or the cheese was coated in latex to keep it from molding. It does not matter how the latex gets on the cheese, she still has a reaction that could kill her. Yet one more thing for me to keep in mind for when she comes over, latex protein is transferable. This means I could be handling balloons and then transfer the latex protein to her or food. Kind of scary when you think about it.

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