Respiratory and dermal symptoms in Thai nurses using latex products

C. Supapvanich, A. C. Povey, F. de Vocht*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background Despite known health risks related to the use of powdered latex gloves (PLGs), they are still widely used in hospitals in developing countries due to the high cost of alternatives.

Aims To determine the prevalence of dermal and respiratory symptoms associated with latex glove use in nurses in Thailand and evaluate the influence of previously reported occupational risk factors in this population.

Methods A cross-sectional study in female nurses working in three Thai hospitals. Participants completed a questionnaire on demographics, occupational and personal history, use of latex products at work and dermal and respiratory symptoms attributed to occupational use of latex gloves.

Results Of 899 nurses, 18% reported health effects attributed to the use of latex products. After adjustment for confounding, occupational risk factors associated with increased reporting of dermal symptoms included wearing more than 15 pairs of PLG per day (odds ratio (OR): 2.10, 95% confidence interval (CI): [1.32-3.34]), using chlorhexidine (OR: 2.07, 95% CI: [1.22-3.52]) and being an operating theatre nurse (OR: 2.46, 95% CI: [1.47-4.12]). Being a labour ward nurse (OR: 3.52, 95% CI: [1.26-9.85]) was the only factor associated with increased reporting of respiratory symptoms.

Conclusions Continuing use of PLGs in Thai nurses is associated with increased prevalence of dermal symptoms compared with data from developed countries. Measures to reduce such health effects are well established and should be considered. Additionally, replacement of chlorhexidine with an alternative detergent seems advisable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-428
Number of pages4
JournalOccupational Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013


  • Aeroallergens
  • chlorhexidine
  • dermal symptoms
  • latex allergy
  • latex gloves
  • nursing
  • occupational factors
  • respiratory symptoms
  • Thailand


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