More Condom Facts: Latex Allergies Can Kill…

One of the most troublesome aspects of the condom use in the adult industry is the possibility of a performer developing a latex allergy. When some people hear the word allergy they think running nose, itchy eyes and some mild discomfort. However, an allergic reaction to latex, especially latex gloves and/or condoms is a much more serious allergy then just that. Quite honestly an allergic reaction to latex condoms/gloves can cause shock and even death. There are no studies pertaining to just latex condoms. The following article is based on exposure to latex and health care employees that wear latex gloves to prevent exposure to blood borne pathogens. However, certain parallels may be drawn.

The issue is so serious that OSHA has developed a Bulletin about exposure to latex ( Please see: ). Currently there are no federal regulations concerning latex gloves or condoms however twenty-five states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have all developed their own standards and enforcement policies for latex exposure.

Who is Allergic to Latex…

According to OSHA;

“With more widespread use of NRL (natural rubber latex) gloves after 1987 there was an increase in reported NRL sensitization and allergic reactions among patients and among employees, notably health care employees. In rare cases, these allergic reactions can be fatal…The majority of health care employees are able to use NRL products to care for most patients. However, some employees may develop sensitivity to NRL upon repeated exposure.”

An allergic reaction to latex condoms is actually something that can develop over time. A particular person may not be sensitive to latex at first but through prolonged and repeated exposures they may actually become seropositive for anti-latex antibodies. More disturbing is that it is currently impossible to determine who may or may not become allergic over time. According to OSHA;

“It is not possible, at present, to determine which employees will become sensitized or symptomatic on exposure to NRL allergenic proteins. Moreover, the extent of an individual employee’s reaction, or the length of time required for such allergic reactions to develop in a sensitized employee, cannot be ascertained. Finally, it is not possible, at present, to predict which individuals will progress from sensitization or from local contact urticaria to more dangerous allergic reactions, nor when this progression may occur.”

Typically, 1-17% of the population is sensitive to latex. Not surprisingly those that are exposed to latex on a regular and repeated basis, tend to be in the high range while the general population are in the lower range. Sensitivity has been found in;

“Health care employees particularly affected include operating room personnel, dental patient care staff, special-procedure and general-medical nurses, laboratory technicians, and hospital housekeeping personnel consistently exposed to NRL. NRL sensitization or allergic response or reaction has also been reported in greenhouse employees, hairdressers,doll manufacturing employees, and employees in a glove manufacturing plant.”

If condom use increases in the adult industry I am sure that “adult performer” will be added to the list of employees noted above. Based on the several studies it would be safe to assume that between 1-17% of all performers may develop a latex sensitivity from repeated condom use. Assuming there are 1500 performers that currently work in Los Angeles adult industry this condition could affect anywhere between 15 to 255 of the current performers (Please see: ).

Symptoms of Latex Allergy/Sensitivity…

If someone is allergic to latex what are the symptoms that one can expect to experience ? OSHA has defined reactions into three categories;

“These categories include reactions that vary from localized redness and rash; to nasal, sinus, and eye symptoms; to asthmatic manifestations, including cough, wheeze, shortness of breath, and chest tightness; to in some cases, severe systemic reactions with swelling of the face, lips, and airways that may progress rapidly to shock and, potentially, death.”

The most basic reaction is contact dermatitis which OSHA describes as;

“The allergic contact dermatitis has an appearance similar to the typical poison ivy reaction, with blistering, itching, crusting, oozing lesions. Also, like poison ivy, this dermatitis appears 24-72 hours after the use of gloves or exposure to other sources of chemical sensitizers.”

Obviously, having blistering, oozing and itchy lesions on an adult performer’s genitals is something that doesn’t inspire thoughts of sexiness. And of course those performers will lose considerable income even waiting for the lesions to heal before trying to work again. However, the more important aspect to this issue is the very real potential thread of shock or even death within minutes;

“A type I reaction can occur within seconds to minutes of exposure to the allergen (in the case of NRL, to allergenic natural rubber proteins), either by touching a product with the allergen (e.g., gloves) or by inhaling the allergen (e.g., powder to which natural rubber proteins from gloves have adsorbed). When such a reaction begins in highly sensitive individuals, it can progress rapidly from swelling of the lips and airways to shortness of breath, and may progress to shock and death, sometimes within minutes.”

It is imperative that anyone in the sex worker community, not just those that perform in adult entertainment, be aware of latex sensitivity and allergies. I strongly recommend that everyone reading this article do their own research and talk to their own healthcare professional.

A great start place is at the website of the American Latex Allergy Association ( Please see: ). I would also recommend visiting the U.S. Department of Labor’s website as well ( Please see: ).

There are options to using latex condoms. Non latex condoms are manufactured for those that are either allergic or have developed a sensitivity to latex. However, it should be noted that lambskin condoms do not contain latex but they are ineffective for stopping the transmission of the HIV virus. A non-latex Polyurethane condom must be used.


8 thoughts on “More Condom Facts: Latex Allergies Can Kill…

  1. Here are four alternatives to latex condoms and the problems I found with them:

    I found an article on the net that had “4 Effective Alternatives To Latex”

    It sounded all good at first, but I like to do my homework anyways! Here’s what I found ladies and gentlemen (mom was right) if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

    Remember that oil based lubricants break down not only latex condoms but polyisoprene condoms as well. While polyurethane condoms don’t break down from oil based lubricants they tend to be less elastic, as they are made from a thin plastic, and tend to break more than latex and polyisoperene condoms. There is also people that have polyurethane allergies. Then there are the lamb skin condoms which should only be used to prevent pregnancy as they don’t prevent STDs due to the fact that they are porous. Let’s not forget the female condom (FC2) The female condom should not be used by anyone with a polyurethane allergy.

    So let’s hope everyone keeps all this straight if they require condoms on set and that someone without latex allergies doesn’t develop the allergy while using a latex condom. Not only would that be super uncomfortable but it could be potentially fatal!

    I am all for safe sex but let’s make sure that that’s really what is happening and not just exchanging one “problem” for another one.

    So, what’s the answer? Beats me y’all! I have to be honest I don’t have the answers, but I will try to continue to give you all the information I can so you can make an informed decision for yourselves.


  2. I have a severe allergic reaction to latex. I am someone who started her adult life not allergic to it. When I was studying nursing in the hospital i was constantly exposed and within 3 months developed such a severe reaction that I went into anaphylactic shock and had I not been in the hospital when the reaction occurred it was severe enough it could have killed me. God forbid this law passes and this occurs I truly hope companies will provide the type of condoms leya mentioned in her comment as we are going to be subjecting many performers to serious allergies. It took me only 3 months to develop the allergy with moderate latex exposure….i am scared to think of how fast some male and female performers will develop them when they are shot constantly. Many hospitals and healthcare centers have gotten rid of latex glove and pay more for non-latex versions to stop the latex allergy exposure, I sure hope companies are equipped to do this if this law passes.


  3. I’ve always had a bit of an allergic reaction when using anything with latex in it, but was usually just a bit of a rash and was just a little itchy. Then back in June of 2009 I went to the emergency room for what I thought might be a heart attack, but turned out to be a nerve problem. While in the hospital, during the course of all the tests they were running, all the blood they were drawing and the I.V. I was hooked up to I had a severe allergic reaction to the latex in some of the products, My throat closed up, My arm and stomach broke out into a pretty severe rash. Luckily I was already in the hospital and they were able to treat me quickly for it, but I was diagnosed with a latex allergy at that time, even though I never had much more than a small reaction to anything with latex, had even used condom only a month or so before the incident. Recently was in a department store and had an allergic reaction just breathing in the air in a shoe department, doctor said it was a reaction to latex in shoe soles more than likely. I even have sensitivity to other rubbers (no pun intended) and plastics. These severe allergic reactions are no something to be taken lightly.


  4. Before I say anything, I am going to say MEASURE B IS CON-DUMB! I am for performers choice in all situations!

    I am a performer with a latex allergy so I just wanted to inform other performers (or even just normal people with this allergy) about the alternatives to latex condoms. There is, of course, the sheep skin condom which protects against pregnancy but not stds so even though this is the most heard of latex alternative, I would not recommend it. There are a couple of other good alternatives out there, the first is polyurethane (brand name: trojan supra) it is alright but not very stretchy, can be painful on a man with a big cock if you can even manage to get it on there and it feels like a ziploc bag in your pussy but it does protect against pregnancy as well as stds. My recommendation for non latex would be polyisoprene (brand name: lifestyles skyn) these condoms are very stretchy (much like latex) and also come in a large size for those out there with the monster cocks and feel very light and provide maximum sensitivity for the male. I have had guys tell me that they prefer the polyisoprene to latex condoms because they feel better and don’t leave the rubbery smell. God forbid this ridiculous condom law passes, both polyurethane and polyisoprene are good alternatives for those with latex allergies providing both protection against stds and pregnancy as much as a latex condom would.


  5. I to have a latex allergy, my first reaction was from a condom it caused horrible swelling and a burning stinging rash inside of me that lasted for days any time I used condoms. I was young didn’t realize what it was until I was in medical school to become a CNA when the nurse on hand realized something wasn’t right with me. I thought it was the lack of sleep and constant heavy lifting that was giving me problems breathing, but when she had me sit down I took off my gloves she saw the rash all over my hands. (I thought it was just the soap there causing my hands to break out) luckly she knew immediately what it was and got me medical treatment. Since then I have had to have shoots changed bc producers couldn’t show me proof that a toy they wanted me to use was latex free just bc I’m afraid the next time It could have accelerated so bad that I could possibly die.


  6. It is very true that people that have never had a latex allergy can develop them later in life. I know for a fact that it happened to a friend of mine, XXXXXXX,(I redacted her name in case she did not want this known.) while she was on set and had to be taken to the hospital. She developed a rash, her throat started to swell and thank goodness she said something right away and was taken to get medical attention. Someone less familiar with this type of issue might not know what is happening to them and continue working until it’s too late! It didn’t take long at all for her symptoms to accelerate to the point where her throat was swelling shut. Luckily this happened during the foreplay with a latex toy and it was only rubbed on her skin. I hate to think of what she would have went through had she continued to shoot and used the toy inside of her…OUCH!


  7. Let me first say that I am not in the adult industry, but do have a major allergy to latex. At the age of 5 I almost died from a doctor simply touching me with latex gloves, because of this I was in a hospital for two weeks on a ventilator until they figured out what caused it. I have to wear a medical alert braceler for the rest of my life. This law very well could be a death sentence for someone with this allergy. This can develop at any age, someone could very well not have the allergy one month, and have it the next. I beg of you to consider these things before you vote on this law.


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