oa Current Allergy & Clinical Immunology - Skin hypersensitivity reactions to preservatives : allergies in the workplace

Volume 25, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1609-3607



Preservatives are chemicals that are added to water-based products to prevent microbiological contamination and to protect the integrity of the product. The ideal preservative should be an effective antimicrobial that is stable, non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitising. Unfortunately preservatives are well known causes of contact allergy. We present a case of allergic contact dermatitis to methyldibromo glutaronitrile (MDBGN) in a patient employed in an industry that manufactures polypropylene fibres from plastic polymers. The article reviews the most important classes of preservatives in the industrial and cosmetic industry, namely parabens, isothiazolines, formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasers, Euxyl K 400 and iodopropynyl butylcarbamate. The chemical and physical characteristics, antimicrobial efficacy, exposures, cross-reactivity and reported rates of sensitisation are discussed.

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