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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Health Note

Air Date: Week of June 15, 2001

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Transcript

TOOMEY: Coming up: a mammoth effort to save a tiny toad. First, this Health Note from Jennifer Chu.

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HEALTH NOTE:

CHU: Scientists at Johns Hopkins University have found evidence that people allergic to latex may develop adverse reactions from the natural rubber stoppers that cap off drug bottles. In a study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, researchers tested a dozen people who are allergic to latex and 11 who are not. Volunteers were injected with solution stored in bottles with either natural or synthetic rubber stoppers. Five of the 12 latex-allergic volunteers developed rashes from solution stored with a natural rubber stopper. None of them, however, developed an allergic reaction to the solution kept with the synthetic stopper. In addition, researchers from the non-allergic group had no reaction to either stopper. Scientists discovered that latex proteins from the natural rubber stoppers did, in fact, seep into the bottle's solution, increasing the chance of an allergic reaction. Bottles with rubber stoppers are mainly used in pharmacies and hospital settings, for drugs like saline and insulin. Scientists in this study are now encouraging the Food and Drug Administration to label all bottles containing natural rubber. That's this week's health note. I'm Jennifer Chu.

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TOOMEY: And you're listening to Living on Earth.

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