Latex is the Latin name for milky.

Latex is a natural product that is tapped from a tree, the rubber tree. These trees only grow in tropical areas, such as South America and Indonesia. Latex or natural rubber is a solid but liquid substance. This natural rubber used to be the basis for many products, such as balls, pneumatic tires, condoms, gloves, paint and clothing. 3000 years ago this product was already used in Mexico for e.g. balls. In the year 1736 this product was brought to Europe by a Frenchman, since then it has been used on a large scale. Chemical operations were used to improve properties and usability. The rubber is heated with sulfur, the more sulfur the harder the rubber becomes, this process is called vulcanization. The natural rubber contains many proteins, these proteins can cause allergies in many people. This is one of the reasons why a lot of synthetic rubber is made nowadays. Synthetic rubber is made on the basis of isoprene or neoprene. But of course natural latex is also still being made!

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