REPORT TITLE:
DOH; Latex Allergy Study 


DESCRIPTION:
Requires DOH to conduct study on nature and extent of the dangers
of use of latex products, the benefits of eliminating their use
or requiring the use of low-protein latex products, the potential
costs of restricting the use of latex products; identify health
care facilities for specified practices; report to legislature by
11/30/99. (SD1)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                        233
THE SENATE                              S.B. NO.           S.D. 1
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            
                                                             
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________


                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT
RELATING TO A STUDY OF LATEX PRODUCTS IN HAWAII BY THE DEPARTMENT
   OF HEALTH.



BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 1      SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that there are now a
 
 2 number of scientific reports pointing to allergic reactions among
 
 3 medical personnel who wear latex gloves.  Recent studies have
 
 4 claimed that as high as ten per cent of the health care and
 
 5 medical professionals who wear latex gloves suffer from an
 
 6 allergic reaction.  The individuals who typically wear latex
 
 7 gloves include dentists, dental assistants, laboratory
 
 8 technicians, nurses, and doctors.
 
 9      The danger from latex gloves is a result of allergic
 
10 reactions to the proteins contained in the latex.  Most commonly,
 
11 individuals exposed may develop "contact dermatitis" -- a rash.
 
12 However, it is claimed that those who are exposed to higher
 
13 levels of latex proteins may develop severe and irreversible
 
14 injury, including death.  With continued exposure, chronic
 
15 lesions are claimed to have developed which can cause anaphylaxis
 
16 or suffocation.
 
17      As the demand for these products has increased rapidly over
 
18 the last ten years, especially with the need for protection from
 
19 AIDS transmission, the need for higher production levels of these
 

 
Page 2                                                     233
                                     S.B. NO.           S.D. 1
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1 products has allegedly resulted in a faster manufacturing process
 
 2 which produces a higher protein content.  Since the early 1980s,
 
 3 the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has
 
 4 urged the use of latex gloves to prevent AIDS transmission.  In
 
 5 some settings, the use of latex is so prevalent that the air is
 
 6 contaminated with the protein.  However, there may be alternative
 
 7 materials for gloves for the medical profession to use which may
 
 8 save lives.  The purpose of this Act is to determine the precise
 
 9 nature and extent of the dangers associated with the use of latex
 
10 products, the benefits of eliminating their use or requiring the
 
11 use of low-protein latex products, and the potential costs of
 
12 restricting the use of latex products through a thorough review
 
13 of the existing scientific research.
 
14      SECTION 2.  (a)  The department of health shall conduct a
 
15 study of the health consequences associated with the use of latex
 
16 products in the provision of health care.  The study shall
 
17 include but not be limited to an analysis of the following:
 
18      (1)  The extent to which powdered latex products are used by
 
19           health care providers in caring for patients in Hawaii;
 
20      (2)  The benefit to the health of patients and health care
 
21           providers of limiting or eliminating the use of
 
22           powdered latex products in the provision of health
 
23           care;
 

 
Page 3                                                     233
                                     S.B. NO.           S.D. 1
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1      (3)  The benefit to the health of patients and health care
 
 2           providers of lowering the protein level in latex
 
 3           products; and
 
 4      (4)  The cost to health care providers or employers of
 
 5           health care providers of using only nonpowdered low
 
 6           protein latex products in the provision of health care.
 
 7      (b)  The department of health shall identify health care
 
 8 facilities that have implemented or are in the process of
 
 9 implementing the recommendations of the National Institute of
 
10 Occupational Safety and Health, including but not limited to:
 
11      (1)  Providing workers with nonlatex gloves for use in
 
12           situations where there is little potential for contact
 
13           with infectious materials, such as in food service;
 
14      (2)  Providing barrier protection for handling infectious
 
15           materials;
 
16      (3)  Using reduced protein, power-free latex gloves to
 
17           protect workers from infectious materials;
 
18      (4)  Ensuring that workers use good housekeeping practices
 
19           to remove latex-containing dust from the workplace;
 
20      (5)  Identifying areas contaminated with latex dust for
 
21           frequent cleaning, such as upholstery, carpets, and
 
22           ventilation ducts, and ensuring that workers change
 
23           ventilation filters and vacuum bags frequently in
 

 
Page 4                                                     233
                                     S.B. NO.           S.D. 1
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1           latex-contaminated areas;
 
 2      (6)  Providing workers with education programs and training
 
 3           materials about latex allergy;
 
 4      (7)  Screening periodically workers who are high-risk for
 
 5           latex allergy symptoms for purposes of preventing long-
 
 6           term health effects; and
 
 7      (8)  Evaluating current prevention strategies if a worker is
 
 8           diagnosed with latex allergy.
 
 9      (c)  The department of health shall report its findings and
 
10 recommendations to the legislature no later than November 30,
 
11 1999.
 
12      SECTION 3.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.