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ALLERGIES to latex gloves worn by health staff could cost the NHS billions of pounds.

Around 3.6million people in Britain are allergic to latex, including up to 17 per cent of all nurses.

But they have to wear the latex gloves to protect themselves against infections such as hepatitis and HIV.

Now campaigners have warned that sick pay, re-training and compensation could cost the NHS a fortune.

Latex gloves can also cause the skin condition dermatitis.

Other workers affected include those involved in food preparation, hairdressing and the police.

The Latex Allergy Support Group and the National Association of Theatre Nurses met yesterday to discuss ways of reducing the number of people who develop allergies.

TUC policy officer Owen Tudor said: "Latex allergies are entirely preventable and every NHS Trust needs to make sure they aren't causing diseases or endangering their patients."
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 20, 2002
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