WHAT IS GUAYULE? Guayule is a plant native to North America that grows well in arid areas of the southwestern United States and in Mexico. The plant produces resins that act as natural pesticides, making guayule resistant to many pests and diseases. The bark of the guayule contains rubber, but it does not contain the allergy-causing proteins present in the plants that are used to make latex. Guayule rubber has comparable strength to that of synthetic latex, but is softer and more elastic.
WHAT ARE ALLERGIES? Every year, when spring rolls around, millions of Americans start sneezing and coughing. Allergies are the culprit. An allergy is simply a negative reaction to a substance that enters the body that is not toxic in itself, yet for some reason causes a bad reaction in the body. Just about anything can be an allergen: dust mites, pollen, cats, dogs, wasps or bees, milk, eggs, peanuts, and even fruits are the most common.
A normal immune system is the body's defense against invading bacteria and viruses. It senses potential invaders and attacks them by producing antibodies. But sometimes a person's immune system mistakes a common allergen as harmful. So it produces antibodies to attack them, and this triggers other cells to release chemicals called histamines, causing allergic symptoms. The most common symptoms of an allergic reaction include sneezing, swelling, itchy eyes, sinus pain, a runny nose, rashes or hives, coughing, and in some cases, vomiting. In extreme cases, an allergen can cause difficulty in breathing. This is called an anaphylactic reaction, and a severe attack can be fatal if not treated quickly.
The Materials Research Society , AVS, the Science and Technology Society and the American Industrial Hygiene Association contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report. This report has also been produced thanks to a generous grant from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc.