§ 23-73-1. Findings.
(a) The legislature finds that latex allergies are increasingly becoming a problem for people who are exposed to disposable nonsterile and sterile latex gloves, such as health care workers, patients, food service workers, manufacturers, hair dressers, child care workers, and children.
(b) There are three (3) categories of latex allergies:
(1) Irritant dermatitis;
(2) Allergic contact dermatitis (delayed hypersensitivity); and
(3) Immediate hypersensitivity latex allergy.
(c) Reaction to latex may manifest through skin rashes, hives, itching, swollen skin, swollen lips and tongue, shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, eyes or sinus symptoms, asthma and difficulty breathing, coughing spells, wheezing, and shock.
(d) In 1997, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health issued an alert concerning the danger of exposure to latex products and requested assistance preventing allergic reactions to natural rubber latex among workers who use gloves and other products containing latex.
(e) On April 12, 1999, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, United States Department of Labor, issued the Technical Bulletin concerning the potential harm to workers from natural rubber latex gloves and other natural rubber products, such as gloves, airway masks, medication vial caps, anesthesia bags, catheters, intravenous supplies, dental dams, balloons, and other products.
(f) Latex gloves are the major contributor for latex allergies.
(g) The United States Food and Drug Administration requires medical devices containing latex to carry a warning about potential allergic reaction.
(h) In 1995, the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology concluded that the single greatest product causing adverse reaction to latex rubber are latex gloves.
(i) The National Institute of Safety and Health concluded that latex allergies can be prevented if employers establish policies that protect workers and the public from unnecessary latex exposure.
(P.L. 2001, ch. 383, § 1.)