October 4-10, 2020: Latex Allergy 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 six percent of people in the United States are estimated to have latex allergies, including up to 12 percent of health care workers, 17 percent of food service workers, 11 percent of elderly, and up to 68 percent of people with spina bifida; and,


WHEREAS, exposure to natural rubber latex is the second most common cause of anaphylaxis in the operating room; and,


WHEREAS, patients with a latex allergy may also experience allergic symptoms when eating certain fruits, vegetables, and nuts, including bananas, avocado, kiwi, tomato, carrot, and chestnut; and,


WHEREAS, there is no cure for latex allergies, 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, which can be found in homes, childcare centers, stores, schools, workplaces, and health care environments, among other places; and,


WHEREAS, natural rubber latex is found in over 40,000 products including, but not limited to, hair accessories, toys, balloons, school and office supplies, sports equipment, medications, and medical devices, often resulting in a daily struggle for latex allergy patients to balance life and work with staying safe and healthy; 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 4-10, 2020, as Latex Allergy Awareness Week in Michigan.