California on Jan. 1 will be banning latex gloves in restaurants and other foodservice locations, joining a growing number of states that are barring the products because of allergies.
Ohio barred rubber latex gloves in March, joining Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Oregon and Rhode Island in enacting bans in foodservice. Hawaii also bans latex gloves for first responders and requires medical and dental workers to inquire whether patients have a latex allergy.
The California bill noted that foodservice workers can wear alternatives to latex gloves that including those made from nitrile, vinyl and polyethylene.
The California legislative ban on latex gloves in retail food establishments was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in September and goes into effect on Jan. 1.
“Incidences of latex allergies have increased due to widespread exposure to products containing natural rubber latex,” according to California Senate Bill No. 677.
“Up to 6% of people in the United States are estimated to have latex allergies, including up to 17% of health care and foodservice workers, 11% of the elderly, up to 73% of children with spina bifida, and up to 34% of children who have had more than three surgical procedures,” the legislation noted.
The California law noted that latex allergies can be triggered by touching a product containing natural rubber latex, inhaling airborne latex protein particles or ingesting food prepared using latex gloves.
“The symptoms of a latex allergy include itching, flushing, hives, rashes, swelling, asthma symptoms such as choking, shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing, gastrointestinal reactions such as severe vomiting and diarrhea, confusion from hypoxia and life-threatening anaphylactic reactions, which can include severe airway swelling, respiratory failure, a severe decline in blood pressure and potentially death if not treated immediately,” the law noted.
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