Today’s carpet choices pose no threat to individuals allergic to natural latexOne of the difficult aspects of allergies is that susceptible individuals must stay on constant alert for exposure to the substances they are allergic to. Although latex allergy affects a relatively small segment of the population, those who are affected by it can have serious reactions if trace amounts of latex are hidden in food, for example, or if the workers handling the food have been wearing latex gloves. In light of the hidden dangers allergy patients must be on the lookout for, it’s nice to know of one area where there is no need for worry – carpet. Today’s synthetic carpet does not contain natural rubber latex and does not pose a risk to latex allergy sufferers.
There are many different kinds of latex. The type used in carpet is a synthetic latex called styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) latex. Other synthetic latexes commonly encountered are ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) latex, acrylic latex, neoprene rubber latex, etc.
The latex which causes allergy is natural rubber latex, which is collected primarily from the rubber trees of Southeast Asia. This rubber contains the proteins to which people become allergic after repeated exposure. Only proteins can cause allergies. Synthetic latexes do not contain proteins.
So, the good news is: there is no risk of latex allergy in broadloom carpets since natural rubber latex is not used in today's carpets; this is due to the high cost of natural rubber latex and the uncertainty of consistent supply sources for it, due to things such as unpredictable weather events, political upheaval in the rubber producing areas, etc. Some imported area rugs may contain natural rubber latex and some domestically produced bath mats may contain natural rubber latex, but periodic washing removes any protein residues.
There’s more information about carpet and latex on the Carpet and Rug Institute’s web site.
Image Credit: 2GoGlobal.com Rubber Trees