According to the American Latex Allergy Association, about three million people in the U.S. suffer from latex allergies. This risk is higher among individuals who work in the healthcare field and people who have had multiple surgeries.
Latex is a milky fluid that comes from rubber trees and used in everything from medical gloves to balloons, clothing waistbands, and rubber bands around the office. Although rare, rubber band allergies do exist and can be very problematic for employees with this condition. The purpose of this buying guide is to provide information about how to choose rubber bands that are safe for everyone in your office to use.
Latex allergies can occur in the form of contact dermatitis, causing a rash that resembles a poison ivy reaction and appears within 12 to 36 hours of contact. Although this type of reaction is uncomfortable, it is not life-threatening.
However, immediate latex reactions are typically more serious and can lead to anaphylaxis symptoms, such as difficulty breathing and loss of blood pressure. More commonly, the symptoms of a latex allergy are itching, redness, and swelling of the skin that came in contact with latex.
If someone in your office has a latex allergy, or if you just want to play it safe, you can buy latex-free rubber bands to avoid potential reactions. As an alternative to latex and natural rubber materials, latex-free rubber bands are made with synthetic materials that contain no known allergies.
One material often used for this purpose is ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM). This material resists UV rays and oxidation while maintaining durability through a range of temperatures. EPDM rubber bands are great for industrial and outdoor uses because they aren't affected by temperature.
But be mindful of the fact that non-latex rubber bands are often made in facilities where latex products are also produced. This doesn't necessarily mean that latex accidently sneaks into your latex-free rubber rubber bands, but it is a consideration to keep in mind if someone in your office has a particularly severe allergy.
Fortunately, the strengths and sizes of latex-free rubber bands are similar to the rubber-made varieties, so a latex allergy won't hinder your productivity. Generally speaking, non-latex bands have the comparable strength, comparable elasticity, and come in in the same sizes as high- and mid-range rubber bands.
Non-latex rubber bands may be equipped with all-weather durability for indoor and outdoor use. They also come in more standard varieties that are more cost-effective for frequent use. Check out our helpful rubber band size chart to help you decide which size of rubber band is best-suited for your projects.
Many offices will have both latex and non-latex rubber bands stashed away in storage cabinets and desk drawers. To reduce confusion and avoid potential reactions, some rubber band manufacturers have created non-latex rubber bands that come in distinctive colors.
For example, the bands in our recommended list below come in orange, green, and blue colors. By choosing non-latex varieties that look differently from standard rubber bands, you can help protect your coworkers from accidentally choosing the wrong band while at work.
At On Time Supplies, we carry many varieties of latex-free rubber bands that are safe, practical, and even ergonomic. Not only are latex-free rubber bands essential for people with allergies, but also great for inhibiting the growth of fungi, molds, and bacteria on storage materials. Interestingly, the antimicrobial features of non-latex bands actually help them to last longer by preventing early product deterioration.
So to wrap things up, here are some of our most popular latex-free rubber bands to help you shop for office supplies in the safest way possible!