Wilkes University


Practice Latex Awareness on Campus

The Environmental Health and Safety Committee asks the campus community to be mindful of the University’s Latex Awareness and Reduction Program.

Increased evidence of latex allergies in children and adults has prompted the University to make every effort to reduce or remove the use of latex products on our campus whenever possible. Our mission is to provide educational information and support to all those interested in latex allergies and the risks associated with them.

Individuals with chronic conditions (spina bifida, multiple operations, hydrocephalus treated with shunts) have been found to have a high risk of developing this allergy, which can be severe and life-threatening. Latex allergy is also reported in healthy children with common allergic conditions such as asthma and eczema, and in adults who are exposed to latex through their work or medical care. The allergy can develop when there is exposure to a product containing natural rubber latex even if there have been no previous reactions.

Routes of exposure include contact with skin, wounds, mucous membranes, injection into the bloodstream and inhalation or ingestion of latex-laden powder particles. Many people are so sensitive that small powder particles from balloons and gloves floating invisibly in the room air can cause an allergic reaction –and this reaction can be severe.

Whenever possible, we ask departments, clubs, teams, and groups to substitute synthetic (e.g. vinyl, nitrile or neoprene) gloves for the latex gloves commonly used in science labs, food preparation and by health personnel for first aid, catheterization and other personal care. Latex balloons, a principal cause of latex reactions, should be eliminated from ALL University functions. Mylar balloons may be substituted. 

Learn more about how you can help develop a latex-safe environment for all students, faculty, staff and visitors.

Thank you very much for your attention to this matter. Questions? Email ehsc@wilkes.edu