Allergic contact dermatitis to synthetic rubber gloves: changing trends in patch test reactions to accelerators

Arch Dermatol. 2010 Sep;146(9):1001-7. doi: 10.1001/archdermatol.2010.219.


Background: Rubber gloves are one of the most frequent causes of occupational allergic contact dermatitis, especially in health care workers.

Observations: We describe 23 patients with allergic contact dermatitis due to rubber accelerators in rubber gloves, some with disseminated dermatitis, treated during a 2-year period. Three had IgE-mediated latex allergies. Sixteen were health care workers from a single institution whose dermatitis was temporally related to the switch to latex-safe gloves. Each had positive patch test reactions to 1 or more rubber accelerators, including carbamates, thiurams, 2-mercaptobenzothiazole, and 1,3-diphenylguanidine. Chemical analysis of 6 glove samples identified 2-mercaptobenzothiazole in 4 and zinc diethyldithiocarbamate in 1. There were discordances between patch test results for glove chemicals and glove swatches and between available information on chemicals used during glove production and chemicals detected during glove analysis. Although these factors may complicate the search for culprit and alternative gloves, dermatitis cleared in each of 9 patients with follow-up data and for whom alternative gloves were provided based on published information of glove composition.

Conclusions: Allergic contact dermatitis due to synthetic rubber gloves occurs even with the use of latex-safe products. More knowledge about chemicals present in these gloves, to which the skin is exposed during use, is necessary to prevent and treat allergic contact dermatitis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Benzothiazoles / adverse effects
  • Benzothiazoles / chemistry
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / diagnosis
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / epidemiology*
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / etiology*
  • Female
  • Gloves, Protective / adverse effects*
  • Guanidines / adverse effects
  • Guanidines / chemistry
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Latex Hypersensitivity / complications
  • Latex Hypersensitivity / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology
  • Patch Tests / methods*
  • Patch Tests / trends
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Rubber / chemistry
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Distribution


  • Benzothiazoles
  • Guanidines
  • captax
  • diphenylguanidine
  • Rubber