Latex and health care (important advices to prevent bad consequences)

The following chapter was included in no way with an intention to take away all the happiness from the rubberist scene, but in the opposite to keep you all healthy and happy and though enable yourselves to stay capable for long time to make pleasant and joyful experiences with this magical material.

Doctors often warn that exposure to natural latex rubber could cause allergic reactions and that some people even died from them (e.g. by asthma attacks). Some allergologists even warn that the repeated exposure to latex could finally even lead non- allergics to become allergic - but fortunately this is only half of the truth...

Latex allergies indeed exist in certain people, but it must be stressed that normally not the solid material, but the contaminated powder on it (which is added to prevent the material from sticking together) starts the allergic reactions and that a cleanly washed latex surface is usually much less problematic. Today it is also technically possible to free the material itself from most of the allergen proteins during production. In spite of this some allergologists seem to regard it as their personal crusade to demonize this wonderful natural material and demand its ban like when it would be plutonium.

Where latex allergies come from...

Allergies against natural rubber latex proteins exists, and their count has risen during the last years, but in this context it must urgently be understood that the official medicine with its monocausal simplifications still disregards way too much that the immune system tends to wrongly classify the presence of harmless new substances as being harmful (and though develops an allergy against them) when they appear at the same time as other new and genuinely toxic substances (much similar like when police wrongly arrests a group of innocent people just because they were always seen together with criminals). Though it is important not to expose the body to toxical and to other unusual substances at the same time to avoid getting allergized against the other ones.

For latex this does mean that a repeated exposure e.g. to a toxic chemical additive in a certain rubber sort can induce the immune system to develop an allergy against the latex itself. Therefore when e.g. the smell or contact of a certain (e.g. chemically altered or semi- synthetic) rubber brand makes you feel sick (headache etc.), then you should regard this warning from your body seriously and avoid THAT sort of rubber for the next time (or at least try to wash it as good as possible before next use, so far this reduces the symptoms), because otherwise you could endanger yourself to make you allergic against the latex itself (and this is certainly one of the least things you want...). Also in the case that there are sometimes days during those you feel a strange kind of disgust against latex, don't force yourself to do extensive sensual things with it despite this. Better trust in the wisdom of your body.

latex, powder clouds and allergic sensitization...

The problem of allergic reactions against latex is most commonly reported by hospital workers those wear powdered latex surgical gloves. The reason for this is quite obvious, because hospital workers are daily exposed simultaneously as well to the latex proteins (often combined with irritating or toxic rubber additives) as to all kinds of germs, disinfection chemicals and other harmful substances against those the gloves are worn, and all this often happens in unpleasant, strenuous and possibly exhausting situations. Though it is easy to understand that the immune system under this overloaded stress condition can misclassify the latex proteins itself as dangerous attackers and though start an allergy by producing antibodies against them.

Due to latex proteins (and rubber additives?) can bind to the powder in gloves etc., the inhaled powder can cause allergic asthma attacks after an allergy has been developed against latex. But also without a present latex allergy the powder itself can be a problem, because inorganic powder particles (talc, magnesia) are difficult to dissimilate when they get (through skin pores or inhalation) into the body; though immune cells can attempt to dissolve them using acid, which damages the surrounding bodily cells too and though irritates the exposed tissue. Cornstarch powder instead should be easy to dissimilate when it gets into the body, but due to it contains own proteins, by the mis- arrest effect these can also cause allergies when they occur together with something that the immune system has already classified as a danger.

There are even hints that talc on sextoys those come in contact with mucous membranes of the vagina can cause ovarian cancer in women.

For latex garments instead of powder also silicone oil can be used to prevent stickiness. Pure silicone oil of medical grade is non- toxic and is also used for condom lubricants and many medical applications; even skin protection lotions for allergics contain it, though it is unlikely that itself favours allergies. But never use technical lubricant silicone oil on latex surfaces exposed to the human body and never spray it (inhalation risk) - I got very bad personal experiences with a silicone poisoning (see here). However, similar like asbestos, silicone oil is not degradable by the human organism, therefore if you trust more in powder, then cornstarch is likely the least problematic alternative.

allergy tests can be dangerous!
Due to the mis- arrest effect of the immune system allergy tests in those multiple potentially harmful substances are injected simultaneously into the body (e.g. the prick test) are a quite dangerous concept and should be avoided (and especially never performed repeatedly or tried prophylactically/ without serious reasons), because especially under the condition of an already badly maladjusted immune system (under which such tests are typically done) they can easily cause new allergies when unknown, genuinely harmless substances get recklessly injected together with ones those the immune system already previously (mis-?) classified as harmful.

Also hyposensitization therapies in those small doses of an allergen get repeatedly injected with a syringe into the body to make the immune system learn to tolerate it again are no good concept. It is well known and measurable that any small injury sets the immune system into a state of alarm; though it is barely understandable why of all the immune system should easily learn to trust that the substance is indeed harmless when each new occurrence of it gets always just combined with a new injury by a syringe needle. Instead it should make much more sense to convince the immune system of the harmlessness again by exposing the allergic's body in a non- injuring way to small doses of the allergen while he is kept in a pleasant and relaxed situation free of any other bodily stress. (The only reasonable exception for using a syringe are insect sting allergies, because under realistic conditions the allergens there are also injected by a sting injury.)

Normally not the natural latex itself causes health problems, but the chemical rubber additives; a very dangerous class of these are organic solvents.

organic solvents...

Especially warned must be against cold- vulcanization cements ("glues", like known from bicycle tube repair sets), because these usually contain tremendously toxic, stingingly smelling solvents (often containing benzol) those have brain damaging effects when inhaled. (Though never use them on breathe masks or anything similar - better completely avoid to use them at all whenever possible.) When such cements really need to be used for any object your body gets exposed to, regard that the solvent urgently must have gassed out entirely before using the object. This can take at least some days; as long the solvent smell is present, it is not safe. (When solvent remains get caught in semi- closed air chambers it is especially problematic (when not impossible) to get the vapours out there.)

For making and repairing latex garments and psychedelic latex equipment there are instead special latex cements available those solvent consist of only ammonia and water. Only these special white rubber cements should be used for latex to that the human body is exposed to, because they are by magnitudes less poisonous than technical cements for bicycle tube repair etc. A problem is that ammonia based latex cements can be difficult to find because they are still a niche product and not yet available in every property store. One of these products is e.g. Copydex non-toxic rubber cement, which is unfortunately only regularly marketed in Great Britain. Also liquid latex body paints are chemically very similar and can be used as a substitute, but you often need to add some additional ammonia and treat the surface with isopropanol to make it bond. Some latex fetish supply companies sell ammonia based cements on the internet, but wherever you buy or order such cement, it is crucial to ask the vendor that you explicitly want only ammonia based latex cement and that you tell him what you need it for (e.g. "for building therapeutical meditation devices those include a breathe mask"), because vendors of technical glues tend to give you instead any rubber glue or cement they have in stock without minding about its toxicity.

I really don't intend to scare or annoy anybody, but organic solvents are really no toy, but a genuine, serious danger. I have in some ways personally to do with brain research, and I know that the brains of nitro- solvent sniffing kids (e.g. in Mexico) got soon damaged even more than the ones of "crack" drug addicts; some people those were repeatedly exposed to such solvents had a fist- size(!) shrunken dead area (hole) in the center of their brain (easily viewable on x-ray pictures) and their remaining IQ was barely higher than the ones of animals anymore. Therefore I can only sincerely recommend to avoid things those emit organic solvent- like smelling vapours.

other rubber chemicals...

Besides organic solvents, in the industrial production of latex based rubber often other chemicals are added - e.g. as stabilizers, antioxidants, curing accelerators, antiscorcher (pre- vulcanization inhibitors) and dyes. Some of these substances can indeed be toxic (e.g. nitrous amines used as curing accelerators), but basically none of them are really necessary for making latex rubber, because they all can be either completely avoided or replaced by non- toxic alternatives. The main reason why toxic additives are still used for latex at all is simply because they are claimed to make rubber production cheaper (e.g. by accelerating the curing process to speed up manufacturing or because alternative substances cost slightly more). But the fact that other companies are capable to sell genuine noble latex rubber goods without these toxins proves that the manufacturing cost difference can't be that significant that the industry would be financially urged to poison their customers with polluted products to stay in business. Certain toxic additives are also intended to make rubber more durable, but this is only justifiable for strictly technical applications (like tyres or mechanical parts) and not for objects intended to get in contact with the human body; for the latter non- toxic additives can be used so far they are necessary at all.

The only toxic chemical that can not be entirely eliminated from latex rubber is carbon disulphide, because traces of this like rotten eggs smelling, solvent- like neurotoxin can come into being already everywhere where carbon meets sulphur, and though also during the normal vulcanization process of natural latex. But don't worry; I guess that the carbon disulphide emission that you may inhale from genuine noble latex rubber is by magnitudes lower than what a human body is exposed to by the ingestion of any only the least burnt fried egg. Dangerous is only that some unscrupulous companies intentionally mix carbon disulphide into latex as a vulcanization agent. Therefore when any rubber sort smells like rotten eggs and this pungent smell does not disappear by washing, then don't use it. 

Also tyre rubber (including inner tubes and patches for these) often contains toxic substances (e.g. benzol), and especially some sorts of non- medical grade silicone rubber seem to be extremely toxic (see here) and should not be used for psychedelic equipment or anything the body is exposed to. Generally rubber sorts those smell resembles nitro solvents, petrol, motor oil, rotten eggs, photo chemicals or something metallic tend to be toxic and should not be used. Many chemicals can get into the human body already by simple skin contact (remember nicotine sticking- plasters), but especially for breathe masks of any kind rubber sorts those emit such chemical odours must be strictly avoided, because by inhalation most chemicals get into the body even by magnitudes easier.

Warning! - Beware of these pseudo- rubber sorts!
Especially warned must be against synthetic PVC elastomer products those are sold in sexshops under the trade names "jelly" (a very soft and often transparent material) or CyberSkin

Although I am not sure yet how much these materials affect psychedelic rubberist devices, I regard it as necessary to mention them here, because in the German news magazine Stern (issue 31, 2001-07-26) was a test report where chemist analysed 4 so- called vibrators/ dildos made of "jelly" material and discovered in them the extremest quantities of evaporating toxic organic solvents and PVC plasticizers they ever had  found in a consumer product. E.g. 2000 ppm of toluol and up to 243000 ppm phthalates (plasticizers) were found in them, while for children toys the European Union allows maximum 1000 ppm of phthalates. (The worst nitro solvent quantities were found in products made in China, but large quantities of phthalates appear also in others.) Because "sextoys" are still officially despised as something "obscene" (or because politicians get bribed by the sex industry?), unlike with condoms there are still no legal maximum toxin exposure limits defined for this neither in the EU nor USA legally specified product class. When we remind that vibrators and the like are of all just intended to get in direct body contact with mucous membranes (and therefore by their health risks would need to be treated equally like baby pacifiers), this is an absolute catastrophic scandal situation. To prevent poisoning, it is therefore strictly recommended to use such PVC products (if at all) only with condoms. (Interesting is that phthalates by their hormone- like effect of all just damage sexual organs and thus can e.g. lead to frigidity or impotency.) But since most people yet still shame and thus don't dare to admit the use of such products, these unscrupulous companies still feel hardly endangered to get sued by customers those ruined their health with them. 

(With this I request all damaged customers to break the silence and sue these companies or at least publically complain about them and their vendors. If you own them you are not alone and there is no reason to shame - vibrators and sex dolls are sold as mass products in such enormous quantities that this proves that not only you but a huge fraction of the world population owns them (possibly your neighbours, your friends and your boss too). What happened to the American cigarette industry you can also make happen to unscrupulous companies of the sex industry - who recklessly endangers people's health for profit interests deserves justice.)

The risky synthetic PVC elastomers "jelly" and CyberSkin were reported to be used in a variety of rubber- like sexshop products, although these actually seem to be mainly masturbation aids (vibrators, sex dolls etc.). As a latex mystic I am personally not interested in such banal sex things (nor I am sexshop customer), and yet I didn't found hints that these materials are also used for rubber garments or other typical rubberist equipment, though I hope that there is no danger for buyers of psychedelic rubberist equipment to accidentally get sold such poison bombs. In spite of this it is important to be aware how tremendously little parts of the sex industry care about the health of their customers and that in most countries still no laws restrict the toxicity of its products. Fortunately the affected pseudo- rubber products can be recognized easily by the extremely pungent solvent/ petrol and plasticizer smell they emit. But due to you can not smell a ware before buying when you order by mail, it is crucial to ensure yourself that it is possible to undo the purchase/ exchange the ware before you do any mail order of rubber products, and if possible ask the vendor (e.g. by phone or e-mail) to describe how the product smells (without previously hinting him too much what you want to avoid) before you order.

In 2008 the situation has improved a bit.

Nowadays some brand companies of high priced vibrators indeed advertise them as non- toxic, and at least in Germany also product test magazines and -institutes now regularly care about this once so despised product segment. I read on the internet that Topco apparently changed their CyberSkin formula into a thermoplastic material based on latex and silicone. A Greenpeace studies confirmed that this new version contains no phthalates. Topco claims it never did, but on their site they also strictly deny that phthalates would be harmful at all, which IMO makes their credibility very questionable.

Nevertheless there is still plenty of other toxic Chinese sex toys around, and somewhat alarming is that the Ökotest magazine found plenty of poisonous heavy metals of all in natural latex vibrators.

In opposite to this, genuine natural rubber (made from pure natural latex and sulphur) has only a rather mild, sulphureous (fishy?, a kind of sperm- like??) smell, which is noticeable, but not perceived as anything unpleasant under normal conditions (but instead perhaps even in a strange, alchemistical way erotic?). The scent of fresh noble latex rubber often even resembles other natural aromatic substances like cacao, cheese or vanilla; this smell can turn less pleasant (like with most natural, organic things...) when the material begins to rot or decompose by some reasons (remember how old toy balloons smell when they die from the extreme strain), but also then it will never start to smell like petrol, solvents, PVC plasticizers, chlorine or rotten eggs. Such chemical odours are instead a hint for chemical additives or synthetic or semi- synthetic rubber sorts those can be toxic.

Joke: How can it be recognized that a normally dressed person is a rubberist who tends to wear the wrong sorts of rubber??? Answer: when all dogs in the street will make way for him and howlingly change the street side.

Is latex toxic??

Genuine latex rubber is a natural product that at least in noble state (i.e. when not polluted with unhealthy chemical additives) is regarded non- toxic. At least it considerably less toxic than plasticized PVC, and it is also less toxic than most synthetic rubber sorts. (Remember that even baby's dummies (pacifiers) and baby bottle mouthpieces are since long times made from natural latex.) Due to noble latex rubber not only can smell very pleasant and has tremendous bioenergetic qualities, but also contains the least toxic chemicals, I strongly recommend (at least to all non- allergics) to prefer it for all rubber objects the human body is exposed to.

(The risen count of latex allergics could possibly even well have to do with the fact that today latex baby's dummies and baby bottle mouthpieces have been replaced more and more with silicone ones. Due to the immune system normally only suspects unknown substances as potential enemies when it gets alarmed by a bodily damage, the vanish of latex in the babies environment (not to forget the latex nappy pants of the past) prevents the children's developing immune system from early getting familiar with latex molecules and though likelier makes it misregard them later as a danger as soon it later coincidentally detects their occurrence first during an alarmed state from a combination with chemical poisoning or severe sickness.)

By the way: PVC plasticizers are not only toxic, cancer causing and smell awful, but belong to the most allergy- causing household substances, and when they finally (but unavoidably) have vapoured out (or got solved out by contact with oily/ fatty substances) after years, the remaining plastic gets brittle and as unusable as disintegrating rubber, therefore PVC is in no way superior to that great, old, natural and always plasticizer- free material of the name latex.


Sulphur one of the essential ingredients of traditional latex rubber - it forms the basis of vulcanization and though is even part of the noblest rubber sorts. A few people react allergic against sulphur and by this get skin irritations by the rubber, but for the vast majority of people sulphur is a substance that is known to have very positive effects on the human skin. 0.25% of the human body consists of sulphur. 

Therapeutic warm baths in sulphur containing hot spring waters or healing muds are since ancient times known as a therapy against eczema and all kinds of red, itchy, sore skin problems as well as arthritis, and also in the classic alchemistic pharmacy sulphur plays a key role. Sulphur is a component of our body's collagen that (like with latex...) keeps the human skin elastic and beautiful (also see here).

When we remind that the first commercial latex suits were manufactured as a medical home sauna replacement and that latex rubber (unlike modern plastics) contains sulphur and though exposes the human body to somewhat similar conditions like those therapeutic warm sulphur baths or modern "body wrapping" wellness applications, it is difficult to understand how their therapeutical meaning in the westian world could get so totally forgotten over time and how this precious technology instead could fall so deep that it drifted down into a publically despised near- sado- maso environment instead; when applied correctly, the bioenergetic harmony material latex can be such a blessing for body, mind and consciousness.

Important for good skin health is only not to wear the latex suit that long that it starts to chafe the humid skin sore and to wash and when necessary lotion your skin afterwards, because the material may rub the skin's natural moisturizing oil film away which can make the skin dry out. (But be careful to keep fatty or oily skin creams and lotions away from the latex itself, because fats easily destroy it.)

Trust in your body's wisdom!

Also regard that the body is in many ways more intelligent than you may think. Allergies and phobias are semantically equivalent. The immune system is an integral part of the body and though executes what the mind (including subconsciousness) rates about a danger. Our body is a wholeness and the immune system in an intact body perpetually communicates with the brain (some neurotransmitters for this have already been identified), much like a police troop that gets its laws and orders from the government. The intelligent behaviour spectrum of immune cells is much larger than what scientists can find when they examine them just separated from the body in a Petri dish. Immune cells in a Petri dish are like a captive police troop that got isolated from external communication and though does the best a can with its limited own knowledge. Though when a genuinely non- toxic substance accidentally once got classified as an enemy and though caused an allergy, then the mind has the power to stop this, so far  it only manages to re-convince its own subconscious processes and by these the amok running police troops of the immune system that they do something fatally wrong that destroys what it normally should protect.

When you have the perception that something may harm you, talk to your body in a meditation about it and ask whether you will need to avoid it. When in the opposite you feel that a reaction of your body, e.g. of your immune system (like an allergy) is grossly unjust, go down to your immune system and try to convince it that it is doing something fatally wrong which it urgently needs to stop.

But again, don't rape your body. Never do anything (no matter what) which causes a complete, total exhaustion, because this state is always harmful and will maladjust and easily damages your nervous system. When the exhaustion arises due to something unwisely done with rubber equipment, then this may even force your immune system to classify (not too unfoundedly) the rubber itself from now on as a threat for your body and though decide to develop an allergy against it. (More health tips and physiological explanations about rubberist equipment is here.)

To avoid exhaustion while sweating, it is crucial to drink enough water (but NOT "organic solvents" ;-> ) and to supply your body with enough energy (e.g. by eating dextrose bars). After sweating in latex suits or similar equipment I recommend to wash yourself and especially to clean the latex surface with detergent water to avoid to expose your skin too long to possibly unhealthy chemical and bodily residues. Also don't forget to wash the surface of new latex equipment this way before exposing your body to it.

After wear it is crucial to wash and dry latex garments as soon as possible, because otherwise the sweat in them can get infested by toxic mould funguses and other germs*, those can make sick and not least become a danger of causing a latex allergy when the body gets exposed to the mixture of germs and latex proteins many times by repeatedly wearing badly cleaned latex. Latex also decomposes when sweat is not washed off as soon as possible.

*) Warning: This risk could also be valid for ordinary household rubber gloves those carelessly rot around somewhere in humid cleaning buckets after wear without getting washed and without getting any chance to dry.

However, the needless use of disinfectants on privately used latex garments or psychedelic devices is not recommended, because also remains of these chemicals tend to cause allergies (and may damage latex), while latex rubber by itself is already somewhat antiseptic and therefore can protect itself well against many germs when it is only sufficiently washed and dried correctly. (Remember: Plants produce the latex sap for nothing else than to disinfect and seal their own wounds.) Important is only that the natural oil component of sweat will slowly disintegrate latex rubber when it stays too long in contact with it, and latex can also rot by moulding skin dirt, therefore keeping latex clean from it is crucial not only for your own health, but also for the health of this fascinating material. And never forget...

always treat your body as your friend - not as your slave!

(Further health related information regarding latex garments can be found on the site of RubberHans.)


but now back to the more pleasant sides that the fascination for rubber can have...

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