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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Inhaled latex allergen (Hev b 1).

BACKGROUND: IgE-mediated responses to natural rubber latex allergens have become a major health problem among recognized risk groups. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this investigation was to measure the amounts of Hevea brasiliensis latex allergen (Hev b 1) inhaled and deposited on surfaces when latex or vinyl gloves were worn and compare the results with the conventional measures (breathing zone samplers) of occupational exposure. METHODS: Hev b 1 exposure was measured by nasal sampling and breathing zone sampling. Latex allergen exposure was generated by having each subject don a pair of powdered latex examination gloves and continuing his or her normal daily activity for 30 minutes. By means of adhesive tape, surface dust samples were collected from the surfaces of gloves, the subject's hands, and work areas. Sampling was performed with subjects wearing no gloves, subjects wearing powdered vinyl gloves, subjects wearing powdered latex gloves, and nearby colleagues wearing latex gloves. All samples were assayed through use of the HALOgen assay (Inhalix, Sydney, Australia) with a Hev b 1-specific mAb. Particles transporting latex allergen were identified by a surrounding immunostain halo, and these were quantified and reported as total numbers of particles inhaled, airborne, or found on surface areas evaluated. RESULTS: Study subjects inhaled 26 times more allergen when powdered latex gloves were worn than under the "no glove" and powdered vinyl glove conditions. During the same period, Hev b 1 particle levels measured in the ambient air through use of the breathing zone sampler increased by 24-fold. The median numbers of particles carrying Hev b 1 allergen per square centimeter on the surface of the hands after the wearing of latex and vinyl gloves were 1964 and 5, respectively. Latex allergen was physically associated both with cornstarch granules and with larger dust particles having a darker, more irregular appearance. CONCLUSION: In a laboratory where gloves are worn for protection, the use of latex gloves resulted in a 26-fold increase in inhaled latex allergen over background levels measured while vinyl gloves were worn as controls. Low levels of latex exposure also occurred when vinyl gloves or no gloves were worn; the reasons for this are under investigation.[1]


  1. Inhaled latex allergen (Hev b 1). Poulos, L.M., O'Meara, T.J., Hamilton, R.G., Tovey, E.R. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. (2002) [Pubmed]
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