“The FDA tracks all allergic reactions to consumer products. They do not have a single case of allergic reaction to a bedding product. All documented cases stem from medical devices.”
In the late 1990’s, latex allergies became a topic of concern for many people. Much has been publicized about anaphylactic shock, an allergic reaction that affects a very small portion of the public exposed to a protein found in natural rubber latex. These issues can be confusing and it is important to become aware as we educate ourselves regarding the facts of latex.
The History of Latex
Latex has been an integral part of our life since the 1920’s. Latex is present in many consumer products we use every day, such as the paint on our walls, the tires we ride on, the balls and balloons our children play with and, yes, the mattresses and pillows on which we lay. The word “latex” literally means polymers suspended in water. These polymers take many forms, most of which are synthetic polymers. Synthetic polymers do not stimulate an allergic reaction. It is only proteins contained in natural rubber latex that can cause a reaction. There have been over 250 individual proteins found in natural rubber sap. Some of these proteins can produce allergic reactions, most of which take the form of simple skin rashes, in a very small number of people.
Since the late 1980’s, the use of natural latex has grown dramatically. This growth is especially visible in the healthcare industry due to latex’s effectiveness as a disease-protecting device. Natural latex gloves are an example of these protective devices. This increase in usage is posing a problem to workers in the health care field whose risk increased due to higher direct skin exposure to the proteins found in natural latex. These products are made using a dipped vulcanization process, which is different from the process we use. These medical products are often produced in third world countries that do not have strict GMP manufacturing codes used in the United States.
Making the Difference
At Latex Foam International and its mattress division, Latex International, we take action to prevent this potential allergic reaction from occurring. All mattresses and pillows undergo a five stage washing process.Unlike dipped products, the openness of the latex foam’s cells allows thorough washing. Our unique washing process removes the vast majority of proteins while enhancing the quality of the overall product.
Put to the Test
The FDA monitors complaints for allergic reactions to natural rubber latex. To our knowledge, there has never been a single complaint over our past fifty years of experience stemming from the natural rubber found in mattresses and pillows. In addition, our mattress and pillows are resistant to dust mites and are naturally resistant to mold and mildew which are contributors to asthma and pulmonary function allergies.
In short, latex allergies are concerning. Fortunately, these allergies can be prevented through proper formulation and processing. No one can say that there will never be a reaction to our products, but to date there has never been a reported problem. We must recognize the long, long track record of safety with latex. We paint our walls, we wear it in our clothes, we use it in our businesses and most importantly, we get the best night’s sleep because of latex.