Detection of latex aeroallergens in dental schools
Mabe, Dikeledi Onnicah
Introduction: Exposure to airborne natural rubber latex proteins has become an important occupational health concern, particularly among healthcare workers. The main purpose of this study was to investigate the levels of latex aeroallergens in South African dental schools. Methods: Area (n=95) and personal (n=369) samples as well as rubber containing gloves and dental devices (n=19) were collected in 5 dental schools. The air samples were collected at a flow rate of 2.5L/min using polycarbonate (PC) filters. Latex allergens (hev b 1, hev b 3, hev b 5 and hev b 6.02) were quantified in filters and rubber extracts by a capture enzyme immunoassay. Data was analysed using STATA 9 computer software (StataCorp, 1984-2007, Texas, USA). Non parametric tests were applied as the data was skewed. The data was interpreted as ‘low’ with less than 10ng/m3; ‘moderate’ with levels between 10-50ng/m3 and ‘high’ with greater than 50ng/m3. Results: Aeroallergen concentrations varied among institutions in our study, ranging from 1.84 to 46.1ng/m3 for personal and 1.33 to 14.97ng/m3 for area samples. Hev b 6.02 was below the detection limit for 86.5% of air samples. This study also found that exposure levels differed by departments and job type. Powdered latex products showed higher allergen concentrations compared to the non-powdered products (p=0.035) and also differed significantly by the type of brands (p=0.022). Hev b 6.02 was the most prominent allergen in powdered gloves and dams. Conclusion: The air sampling method and capture enzyme immunoassay used in this study offer means for evaluation of airborne allergen concentrations. The initiative to use non-powdered low protein latex gloves and dams should be implemented as a preventive measure.
dental schools, aeroallergens, latex, allergens