R 351
2000-H 8348 am
Enacted 7/20/2000

J  O  I  N  T     R  E  S  O  L  U  T  I  O  N


Introduced By:  Representatives Dennigan and Benoit Date Introduced:   June 15, 2000

WHEREAS, Latex allergies are increasingly becoming a problem with recognized among people who are exposed to disposable non-sterile latex gloves such as health care workers, patients, food service and processing workers, manufacturers, hairdressers, and child care workers and children. The incidences of latex allergies are increasing to an epidemic status; and the incidences of latex allergies can be categorized as a preventable epidemic with the enforcement of public health regulations; and

WHEREAS, As of March 1999, the total number of latex allergy reactions associated with latex-containing medical gloves reported to the US Food and Drug Administration was 2,330; and;

WHEREAS, Allergic reaction Glove related reactions to latex comes in three types: 1.) irritant dermatitis, 2.) allergic contact dermatitis, (delayed hypersensitivity) 3.) and latex allergy (immediate hypersensitivities); and reaction to latex may include skin rashes, hives, itching, swollen red skin, swollen lips and tongue, shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, eyes or sinus symptoms, asthma and difficulty breathing, coughing spells, wheezing, and shock; and

WHEREAS, In 1987 the Center for Disease Control issued a universal precautions order that all health care workers are required to wear gloves to help prevent the spread of infectious disease; and since the Center for Disease Control issued the 1987 universal precaution, the incidents of latex allergies has increased as a direct result of the increased use of latex gloves; and findings from the Center for Disease Control have shown that 2% of operating room personnel were allergic to latex in 1987 and that number has currently risen to 15% of operating room personnel today; and the Center for Disease Control has stated that a growing number of the population is affected by latex allergies since the adoption of Universal Precautions in 1987, including, but not limited to, 50% of spina bifida patients; 33% of children who have had 3 or more surgeries before the age of 5, and 10-15% of all health care workers; and

WHEREAS, In 1997, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health issued an Alert concerning the danger of exposure to latex products, and requesting assistance in preventing allergic reactions to natural rubber latex among workers who use gloves and other products containing latex; and on April 12, 1999, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S., Department of Labor, issued a technical information bulletin concerning the potential harm to workers from natural rubber latex gloves and other natural rubber products, such as gloves, airway mask, medication vile vial cups, anesthesia bags, various supplies for intravenous use, dental bans, balloons, and other products; and

WHEREAS, The production of latex products, especially powdered gloves are inadequately regulated because most latex glove manufacturers are located in other countries with no manufacturing regulations; and powdered latex gloves are not sterilized properly resulting in an increased risk of latex exposure due to each of the proteins; and other products can be substituted for effective barrier gloves such as plastic, vinyl, and nitrile that contain no latex; and

WHEREAS, The State of Rhode Island does not have any emergency rooms with an area specified as latex-safe environment and a latex-safe corridor to enter the hospital; and

WHEREAS, Certain hospitals throughout the country now recognize the serious effects of latex allergies, for health care workers and patients, and are requiring their institutions to become latex-safe environments; and

WHEREAS, The United States Food and Drug Administration has ordered that any medical device containing latex carry a warning about potential allergic reactions; and latex gloves are unnecessarily used in food service and processing; the use of latex gloves by workers who prepare food contribute to the spread of latex allergens in food; and

WHEREAS, Such settings as child care facilities, schools, home care, and day care require certain workers to wear gloves for certain tasks; however, the unnecessary use of there is no requirement nor any reason for these workers to wear latex gloves; and disposable non-sterile latex gloves containing latex allergens protein, rather than non-latex substitutes, increase the workers' and the childrens' exposure to latex allergens; and

WHEREAS, In 1999, the American Journal of Public Health published a cost analysis of health care facilities switch switching from latex gloves to latex-free glove alternatives and demonstrated the economic benefits of converting to non-latex gloves; and a national study produced in 1999 showed that latex sensitivity in workers' compensation claims rose from approximately 1 % of compensable claims in 1995 to 8% of compensable claims in 1999 with predictions of further increases in these claims as the problem grows if left unchecked; and the National Institute of Safety and Health provided an analysis for workers' compensation claims showing that 70% of latex allergy cases received compensation regarding approval of disability awards, some which reached to total and permanent disability settlements; and the National Institute of Safety and Health stated that latex allergies can be prevented if employers establish policies that protect both workers and patients from unnecessary latex exposure; and

WHEREAS, The Department of Health is vested with authority to regulate health care facilities and can require all licensed healthcare facilities to educate their staff concerning the risks associated with latex exposure and develop latex-safe health care facilities, so that medical care personnel and patients can be protected against exposure to latex allergens, and so that patients who are already allergic can receive safe medical treatment; and the Department of Health is vested with authority to regulate food processing and serving and can require food processors and servers to educate their employees concerning the risks associated with latex exposure and use gloves other than latex for food services; and the Department of Health is vested with the authority concerning public health and safety to develop programs to educate the public concerning risks associated with latex exposure; now, therefor be it

RESOLVED, That the General Assembly hereby recognized that repeated exposure to latex products can result in latex allergies. Latex allergies can be life-threatening and endanger the public health and safety. The Department of Health is vested with authority to regulate and protect the public health and safety; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the General Assembly of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, hereby request that the Rhode Island Department of Health recognize latex exposure as a health risk, and exercise its authority to regulate latex products consistent with the Department of Health's regulatory authority regarding healthcare facilities, food services and processing, and day care facilities; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Rhode Island Department of Health develop regulations, protocols, and management strategies to promote education and awareness of latex allergies and/or to work toward the elimination of non-sterile disposable latex gloves containing latex allergen protein in healthcare facilities, food processing and serving, and day care facilities; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Department of Health commit to an education program to alert the public regarding natural rubber latex allergy the potential risks associated with latex exposure; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the General Assembly of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations hereby proclaim October 1, 2000 through October 7, 2000 as Latex Allergy Awareness Week in the State of Rhode Island and at least one day shall be devoted to latex allergy awareness in each of the following areas: healthcare facilities, day care facilities, and food processing and servicing; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to transmit a duly certified copy of this resolution to the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health.

As always, your comments concerning this page are welcomed and appreciated.

Thank you for stopping by!