October 6 - 12, 2019: Latex Awareness Week

WHEREAS, latex allergy patients face a constant threat to their lives from exposure to rubber latex allergens. Reactions can be elicited by touching a product containing natural rubber latex, breathing airborne latex proteins, or digesting food prepared using latex gloves; and,


WHEREAS, the incidence of latex allergies has increased due to widespread exposure to products containing latex; and,


WHEREAS, up to 6 percent of people in the United States are estimated to have latex allergies, including up to 18 percent of health care workers, 11 percent of elderly, and less than 70 percent of children with spina bifida; and,


WHEREAS, exposure to natural rubber latex results in up to 10 deaths per year in the latex allergy community and is the second most common cause of anaphylaxis in the operating room; and,


WHEREAS, patients with latex allergy may also experience allergic symptoms when eating certain fruits, vegetables, and nuts that are cross reactive, including bananas, avocado, kiwi, tomato, potato, pitted fruits, and chestnut; and,


WHEREAS, there is no cure for latex allergy, and every exposure increases the sensitivity and severity of the patient's condition, with distress and rebound reactions for days after exposure; and,


WHEREAS, latex reactions can only be prevented by avoiding all latex related products, but natural rubber is found in over 40,000 products including, but not limited to, hair accessories, toys, balloons, school and office supplies, sports equipment, and medical devices, resulting in a daily struggle for latex allergy patients to balance life and work with staying safe and healthy; and,


WHEREAS, latex allergies result in a growing number of worker's compensation claims arising from workplace exposure to products containing natural rubber latex; and,


WHEREAS, the Allergy and Asthma Network creates awareness of latex allergies through education and provides support to individuals who have been diagnosed with a latex allergy.


NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim October 6-12, 2019, as Latex Allergy Awareness Week in Michigan.