FAQs & Resources

Latex Allergy Concerns

Latex sensitivity has become a serious issue for the building maintenance industry, because an increasing number of people are experiencing adverse reactions to the natural proteins in latex.

Latex allergy, or hypersensitivity, occurs when the body's immune system reacts to proteins found in natural rubber latex. The immune system launches a "defense" that can cause some serious and in some cases, life threatening symptoms. People who are hypersensitive to Latex can go into anaphylactic shock. This is the same type of allergic response seen when individuals who are allergic to bee venom receive a bee sting.

It is difficult to say how problematic latex allergies are. Since 1988 there have been approximately 1,000 cases of allergic or anaphylactic reactions to latex-containing products reported to the FDA. In a study conducted in 1994, 6% of volunteer blood donors had indications of an increased level of anti-latex antibodies, although many of the volunteers did not show symptoms of latex allergy. Other research suggests that more than 100,000 health care workers may be at risk for developing latex allergy.

The introduction of Universal Precautions in health care settings, including the widespread use of latex gloves to prevent the spread of AIDS and Hepatitis B, is believed to be the primary cause of the increased occurrences of latex allergy. There is also a greater awareness and reporting of latex allergy than in the past.

Workers with ongoing exposure to latex should take the following precautions to protect themselves:

  1. Use non-latex gloves for activities that are not likely to involve contact with infectious materials (ex: food preparation, housekeeping and maintenance).
  2. Appropriate barrier protection is necessary when handling infectious materials. If you choose latex gloves, use powder-free gloves.
  3. Do not use oil-based hand creams or lotions when wearing gloves (unless they have shown to reduce latex problems). Lotions and Creams will cause the gloves to deteriorate.
  4. Learn to recognize the symptoms of latex allergy: skin rashes, hives, flushing, itching of the eyes and or nose, sinus symptoms, asthma, and possible anaphylactic shock.
  5. If you develop symptoms of latex allergy, avoid contact with latex gloves and latex products until you can see a physician experienced in treating latex allergies.
  6. Be sure to make your employer and co-workers aware of your sensitivity to Latex.

Pro-San has powdered and powder-free vinyl gloves available for those who prefer a non-latex option. Another choice for non-latex gloves are Nitrile Gloves. These gloves are a close cousin to the latex gloves and therefore have the same flexibility, but without the rubber component found in Latex. Pro-San stocks powdered and powder-free Nitirile Gloves. All gloves are available in sizes Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large.

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Understanding Can Liners

What size liner do I need for my waste receptacle?

Figuring our circumference of square & round waste receptaclesUse the guide below to determine your recommended liner size. Commercial can liner sizes are represented with two numbers i.e. 38" x 60". The first number is the diameter of the opening and the second number is the height of the liner. To find the correct size liner, first measure the can's circumference then measure its height.

Most containers have the gallon capacity or size printed on the lip of the can or on the outside bottom of the can.

Bag Width: To calculate the proper width of the trash can liner for your container, simply divide the circumference of your container by 2.

Square Container Circumference: Circumference = sum of all four sides added together.

Round Container Circumference: Circumference = diameter multiplied by 3.14.

Bag length: (round and square containers) add the height of the container, plus 4" to 5" for overhang.

Understanding Gauge Thickness:

Gauge is currently the term in use to describe the thickness of can liners. Technological advancements in resins and additives have allowed manufacturers to produce thinner, lighter can liners that are stronger than thicker trash can liners. Film thickness can no longer be relied on for judging the strength of a plastic can liner. Linear Low-Density Can Liners are measured by mil thickness; High-Density Can Liners are measured by Micron thickness.

Millimeter (Mil) (one thousandth of an inch) one mil equals .001". Can liners range between .35 to 4.0 mils

Micron: 25.4 microns equals .001", 1,000 microns (M) is 1mm. Can liners range between 5 to 24 microns

Select the best gauge for the application

Linear Low Density Can Liner - Recommended for sharper objects under tougher transport conditions. Linear low density trash can liners have excellent resistance to punctures and tearing. These liners tend to stretch before breaking.

High Density Trash Can Liner - Great for paper and non-sharp objects under moderate transportation conditions. Uses less plastic than linear low density can liners. High density plastic trash can liners have excellent resistance to puncture and high resistance to tearing.

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