Any chance of a less allergenic version of the rubber casing?

I suffer from rubber sensitivity. Strictly speaking I am allergic not to natural latex itself, but to the rubber vulcaniser mercaptobenzothiazole (MBT for short). It’s not so bad that I react instantly to contact with rubber, so as far as I can tell the Fairphone casing has not irritated my skin in and of itself. However at the time of writing I have been affected with contact dermatitis after repeatedly handling some reusable coffee cups with rubber sleeves two weeks ago. I have removed said sleeves, washed the cups and am trying to cure the dermatitis with antihistamine tablets and steroid cream. I do wonder, however, whether the Fairphone casing is making this existing irritation worse.

Not being familiar with the ins and outs of rubber production, I have no idea whether it would be feasible to make the rubber casing without MBT. So how about a rubber-free alternative? I am aware that vinyl is not without environmental problems, but maybe there could be a plant-based option. See, for instance, this new alternative to leather made from cork:


I’m no expert on synthetic materials and have never heard of MBT, but when I read “rubber casing” I think of the old cases. As far as I can tell the new slim cases don’t contain rubber that you get in contact with (there are tiny pieces of rubber inside that hold the buttons to the rim).


As plastic has to have a code for recycling (inside of an upright arrow-triangle), you find inside of the backcover of the FP2 code no 7 for “other” or multilayer plastic.
Next to it:
PC + TPU standing for “polycarbonat” + “thermoplastic polyurethan elastomere
Made with recyled plastics

I am not sure, but I would guess, that the “rubbery” part of the casing is made of TPU. That’s used on the inside of the cover only:

  • as a frame to keep the battery in place,
  • as a sealing around openings and along the rim of the backcover (on the top)
  • as bearing for the buttons.

There should not be any rubber used for the slim-cover. At least it is not mentioned.
I am not sure about the old one, though.

OK, I take that back - the Fairphone is rubber-free, thank goodness.

Now if only someone could work out how to make washing-up gloves from cork or recycled plastic instead of rubber or vinyl…

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Like literally, its so easy to buy latex free (and non vinyl gloves)…

… but I have in deed found none made of recyled materials (cork is out of the question, of course :wink: ).

I haven’t found any latex-free washing-up gloves which aren’t made of vinyl.

You sure will find none in any drugstore ore wholesale shop.
But there’s quite a lot of different gloves for workplaces/laboratories that need special protection against acid or chemicals.
There you will find gloves made of polychloropren (CR) (=Neopren) or “nitril”, that might do the trick for you.
Here’s some explanation:
Just beware: Quite a few neopren-gloves are mxed with latex (or have a latex lining).

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So what I have is “Type IV allergy - Delayed allergic contact dermatitis” (what happened to Types II and III?).

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I guess you would not want to trade in for types II or especially III:
or more detailed:

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