Where are the hazards?
Natural rubber latex (NRL) contains proteins which can potentially cause ill health. A very common route of exposure to NRL proteins in the workplace is through the use of single-use latex gloves. These gloves can be supplied 'powdered' (where powder is added to ease putting on and removal) or 'powder-free'.
What are the risks?
In powdered latex gloves, the NRL proteins can leach out of the glove material and attach to the powder particles. When the gloves are put on or removed, the powder – along with the attached NRL proteins – becomes airborne and can be inhaled. This can cause asthma.
How to control
The risk of inhalation and skin exposures to NRL proteins is reduced when non-powdered, 'low-protein' single-use latex gloves are used. 'Low-protein' means manufactured to the European Standards indicated by EN420 (requiring extractable latex proteins to meet the European Standards defined by EN455–3).