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I have a question about latex allergy and tire mulch at playgrounds. A pediatrician called me and asked about the safety of a 6 year-old with Spina Bifida playing at his new school playground that has tire mulch as a bedding. The child does not have latex allergy, but mom is trying to avoid exposure to latex. My understanding about latex allergy is it's less likely to be an issue with "hard rubber" causing an allergic reaction. I'm not certain how likely the mulch would sensitize the child. We do live in Kansas and the temperatures reach into the 90's and sometimes 100's in the Fall and Spring. Is there any information about this?


The risk of latex sensitization in children with spina bifida is related to recurrent mucus membrane exposure to water soluble natural rubber latex protein eluting off of urinary catheters. The amount water soluble of natural rubber latex protein that could possibly contact the mucous membranes of a child playing at a playground that has ground tire mulch would be extremely low, assuming the child was not ingesting or chewing on the mulch. There is no publication in PubMed that I could find on this issue.

I hope this information is helpful.

Eric Macy, MD, MS, FAAAAI

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