Latex Allergy Resources

February 23, 2008

Wednesday February 20, 2008

Safety Institute

Dear Colleague

The Premier healthcare alliance today announced the availability to Premier members of the group purchasing industry's most comprehensive latex-free catalog that identifies latex-free products for employees, patients and physicians with latex allergies. The 600-page catalog contains 16,675 items in 250 product groups representing 445 suppliers.

Publicly Accessible Tools and Resources
In addition to its member catalog, Premier offers publicly accessible resources, tools, sample policies, and case studies on latex allergy risk and prevention strategies at http://www.premierinc.com/safety

1 in 10 People are Allergic to Latex
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one in 10 people are sensitive to natural rubber latex. Among individuals with latex allergies, repeated exposure to latex results in sensitization and increased risk of allergic reactions. High risk groups for latex sensitization include healthcare workers and patients with early and repeated exposures to latex, such as infants with congenital spina bifida having multiple surgeries. Latex allergic reactions can range from mild skin rashes to severe and life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Since no known cure for latex allergy exists, avoidance of latex exposure is the only protection.

Federal Law Requires Latex Labeling
A federal law that took effect in 1997 requires medical products with latex to specify that they contain latex. However, there is no requirement that products be labeled "latex free." Premier's goal with this catalog is to assist its members in identifying latex-free products to provide allergy-free environments for patients and staff.

In addition to the latex-free catalog, Premier's online automated contract management system, Supply Chain Advisor, is searchable for products with environmentally preferable attributes, including latex-free, mercury-free and DEHP-free.

Please share this information with your colleagues, readers and members.

Gina Pugliese, RN MS
Vice President
Safety Institute, Premier Inc.