Content of Asthmagen Natural Rubber Latex Allergens in Commercial Disposable Gloves

  • C. BittnerEmail author
  • M. V. Garrido
  • L. H. Krach
  • V. Harth
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 921)


The use of natural rubber latex (NRL) gloves in many occupations may lead to latex sensitization, allergic asthma, and skin reactions. Due to their good properties and environmental safety NRL gloves are still being used in the healthcare setting, but also in the food industry, by hairdressers, cleaners, etc. The aim of our study was to assess the protein and NRL allergen content in commercial gloves by different methods, including a new assay. Twenty commercially available NRL gloves were analyzed. Protein extraction was performed according to the international standard ASTM D-5712. Total protein content was measured with a modified Lowry method, NRL content with the CAP Inhibition Assay, the Beezhold ELISA Inhibition Assay, and an innovative ELISA with IgY-antibodies extracted from eggs of NRL-immunized hens (IgY Inhibition Assay). We found a high protein content in a range of 215.0–1304.7 μg/g in 8 out of the 20 NRL gloves. Seven of the 20 gloves were powdered, four of them with a high protein content. In gloves with high protein content, the immunological tests detected congruently high levels of NRL allergen. We conclude that a high percentage of commercially available NRL gloves still represent a risk for NRL allergy, including asthma. The modified Lowry Method allows to infer on the latex allergen content.


IgY-antibodies IgY inhibition assay Latex allergy Latex gloves 



We would like to thank Frauke Koops for her skillful technical assistance.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding this publication.


  1. BAuA Technische Regel für Gefahrstoffe 401 (TRGS 401) (2008) Available from: Accessed 20 Dec 2015
  2. Baur X, Chen Z, Raulf-Heimsoth M, Degens P (1997) Protein and allergen content of various natural latex articles. Allergy 52:661–664CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Boonchai W, Sirikudta W, Iamtharachai P, Kasemsarn P (2014) Latex glove-related symptoms among health care workers: a self-report questionnaire-based survey. Dermatitis 25:135–139CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Cabanes N, Ilgea JM, de la Hoz B, Agustín P, Blanco C, Domínguez J, Lázaro M, Lleonart R, Méndez J, Nieto A, Rodríguez A, Rubia N, Tabar A, Beitia JM, Dieguez MC, Martínez-Cócera C, Quirce S (2012) Latex allergy: position paper. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 22:313–330PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Deutsches Institut für Normung e.V (2007) DIN EN 455-3. Medizinische Handschuhe zum einmaligen Gebrauch. Teil 3: Anforderung und Prüfung für die biologische Bewertung: Deutsche Fassung EN 455-3: 2006Google Scholar
  6. Hansson LO, Flodin M, Nilsen T, Caldwell K, Fromell K, Sunde K, Larsson A (2008) Comparison between chicken and rabbit antibody based particle enhanced cystatin C reagents for immunoturbidimetry. J Immunoassay Immunochem 29:1–9CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Heilman DK, Jones RT, Swanson MC, Yunginger JW (1996) A prospective, controlled study showing that rubber gloves are the major contributor to latex aeroallergen levels in the operating room. J Allergy Clin Immunol 98:325–330CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. International Union of Immunological Societies Allergen Nomenclature Subcommittee (2015) Allergen nomenclature: Hevea brasiliensis. Available from: Accessed 20 Dec 2015
  9. Klemperer F (1893) Ueber natürliche immunität und ihre verwerthung für die immunisirungstherapie. Archiv für die Experimentelle Pathologie und Pharmakologie 31:356–382Google Scholar
  10. Koch HU (2002) Protein determination in latex gloves. Source of Surgery, 9, 1. Available from: Accessed 20 Dec 2015
  11. Lamberti M, Buonanno R, Ritonnaro C, Giovane G, Crispino G, Feola A, Medici A, Sannolo N, Di Carlo A, Di Domenico M (2015) Molecular profile of sensitization in subjects with short occupational exposure to latex. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 28:841–848PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Latza U, Haamann F, Baur X (2005) Effectiveness of a nationwide interdisciplinary preventive programme for latex allergy. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 78:394–402CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Mabe DO, Singh TS, Bello B, Jeebhay MF, Lopata AL, Wadee A (2009) Allergenicity of latex rubber products used in South African dental schools. S Afr Med J 99:672–674PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Merget R, van Kampen V, Sucker K, Heinze E, Taeger D, Goldscheid N, Haufs MG, Raulf-Heimsoth M, Kromark K, Nienhaus A, Bruening T (2010) The German experience 10 years after the latex allergy epidemic: need for further preventive measures in healthcare employees with latex allergy. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 83:895–903CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Mota AN, Turrini RN (2012) Perioperative latex hypersensitivity reactions: an integrative review. Rev Lat Am Enfermagem 20:411–420CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Palosuo T, Alenius H, Turjanmaa K (2002) Quantitation of latex allergens. Methods 27:52–58CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Perrella FW, Gaspari AA (2002) Natural rubber latex protein reduction with an emphasis on enzyme treatment. Methods 27:77–86CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Raulf-Heimsoth M, Sander I, Chen Z, Borowitzki G, Diewald K, van Kampen V, Baur X (2000) Development of a monoclonal antibody-based sandwich ELISA for detection of the latex allergen Hev b 1. Int Arch Allergy Immunol 123:236–241CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Sanguanchaiyakrit N, Povey AC, de Vocht F (2014) Personal exposure to inhalable dust and the specific latex aero-allergen, Hev b6.02, in latex glove manufacturing in Thailand. Ann Occup Hyg 58:542–550CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  20. Schade R, Behn I, Erhard M, Hlinak A, Staak C (2001) Chicken egg yolk antibodies, production and application. Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg/New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Tarlo SM, Sussman G, Contala A, Swanson MC (1994) Control of airborne latex by use of powder-free latex gloves. J Allergy Clin Immunol 93:985–989CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Tomazic-Jezic VJ, Woohlhiser MR, Beezhold DH (2002) ELISA inhibition assay for the quantification of antigenic protein in natural rubber latex. J Immunoassay Immunochem 23:261–278CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Turjanmaa K, Reunala T, Rasanen L (1988) Comparison of diagnostic methods in latex surgical glove contact urticaria. Contact Dermatitis 19:241–247CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Turjanmaa K, Alenius H, Mäkinen-Kiljunen S, Reunala T, Palosuo T (1996) Natural rubber latex allergy. Allergy 51:593–602CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Vandenplas O (1995) Occupational asthma caused by natural rubber latex. Eur Respir J 8:1957–1965CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Wooley JA, Landon J (1995) Comparison of antibody production to human interleukine-6 (I-L6) by sheep and chickens. J Immunol Methods 178:253–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Bittner
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. V. Garrido
    • 1
  • L. H. Krach
    • 1
  • V. Harth
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Clinical Occupational Medicine, Institute for Occupational and Maritime Medicine (ZfAM)University Medical Center Hamburg-EppendorfHamburgGermany

Personalised recommendations