Latex sensitization in dental students using powder-free gloves low in latex protein:a cross-sectional study

Contact Dermatitis. 2002 Aug;47(2):103-8. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0536.2002.470209.x.


In Germany, employers must provide low-protein, powder-free gloves. This study was carried out to determine the current prevalence of latex sensitization in dental students using these gloves and to compare our results with a study of the same design dating from 1990/1991 at our university. A cross-sectional study was performed by questionnaire, prick testing and determination of specific IgE antibodies. 226 of 403 dental students underwent prick testing with a panel of 8 aero-allergens, 1 commercially available latex extract and 5 high-ammonia accelerator-free latex fluids. 39 of 226 dental students (17.3%) had a positive prick test response to at least 1 of the 6 latex substances tested. The prick test positivity was similar in preclinical education (semester 1-6) and in clinical education (semester 7-10), at 17.1% and 17.4%, respectively. In 9 of 32 persons with positive prick tests, specific IgE antibodies to latex could be detected. Within the past 10 years, prick test positivity increased from 8.7% to 17.3%. 14 students (6.2%) reported a history of glove intolerance, 3 of them (1.3%) showing a positive prick test to latex. By the use of low-protein, powder-free gloves less students with glove intolerance were observed. The observed reactions to between 1 and 3 of 6 latex substances tested may indicate a decrease in intensity and spectrum of sensitization. Additionally non-occupational sensitization may be of importance.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / epidemiology
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / prevention & control*
  • Dermatitis, Occupational / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Gloves, Surgical / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Latex / immunology*
  • Latex Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Latex Hypersensitivity / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Patch Tests / methods
  • Proteins / immunology*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Students, Dental / statistics & numerical data


  • Latex
  • Proteins