9th Annual Student Colloquium and Poster Session.
Natural rubber latex from the Brazilian para rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis, is commonly used for thin film barrier products such as condoms, medical gloves, and dental dams. Type I and Type IV latex allergy sensitization and subsequent allergic reactions to Hevea natural rubber latex products have created an industry demand for thin film barriers that are circumallergenic (circumvent both allergic responses). Currently the thin film barrier "Type I allergy avoidance" market is populated with synthetic elastomers produced from non-sustainable resources such as petroleum. These products often possess inferior mechanical properties relative to natural rubber latex products. Also, both Hevea and synthetic thin film products are prone to causing Type IV contact dermatitis allergies, attributed to residual thiazoles, thiurams, and carbamates accelerators.
We have developed natural rubber thin films, which circumvent both Type I and Type IV latex allergies, utilizing natural rubber latex from the plant species Parthenium argentatum, commonly referred to as guayule. Guayule latex is circumallergenic, with respect to Type I allergy, because its proteins do not cross-react with Hevea associated allergic proteins. The guayule latex films were cured with the accelerators diisopropyl xanthogen polysulphide (DIXP) and zinc diisononyl dithiocarbamate (ZDNC) eliminating Type IV allergy sensitization and reducing occupational hazards for latex industry workers, and for product users.
Our new formulations yield films with mechanical properties comparable and sometimes superior to those reported for Hevea natural rubber latex and synthetic elastomers, and well above the ASTM standards for surgical gloves. These new circumallergenic materials are suitable for many dipped thin film product applications.