Your question regarding balloons has raised an important issue regarding the use of latex in schools in general. The last few decades have seen an increase in allergies to latex1. These allergic reactions develop in some people due to exposure to certain latex proteins and chemicals used in the manufacture of latex products.
In a school setting, items containing latex can be found across many departments and whilst frequent exposure is unlikely, latex allergies can be an issue for susceptible individuals. It is important to know which staff and students may be at risk, to know where latex products are used in schools and to have strategies in place to avoid or limit exposure especially when a person has been identified as having a latex allergy.
In science, we are not advocating to ban latex balloons, however it is important to be aware if there are any staff or students who have an allergy to latex and then take steps to avoid exposure to latex. Whilst it may be difficult to find a suitable alternative to latex balloons, it is quite achievable to substitute latex gloves with non-latex gloves or at the very least to purchase non-powdered gloves.
As a result of this question, we have developed an information sheet to raise awareness of latex allergies and to encourage a sensible and a risk management approach to the use of latex products in schools. Click here
1 Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA). 2015. Latex allergy. https://www.allergy.org.au/?view=category&id=113 (Link updated May 2019)