Contact sensitization to 5‐chloro‐2‐methyl‐4‐isothiazolin‐3‐one and 2‐methyl‐4‐isothiazolin‐3‐one (MCI/MI): A European multicentre study

T. Menne, P. J. Frosch, N. K. Veien, M. Hannuksela, B. Björkner, J. M. Lachapelle, I. R. White, G. Vejlsgaard, H. J. Schubert, K. E. Andersen, A. Dooms‐Goossens, S. Shaw, J. D. Wilkinson, J. G. Camarasa, J. E. Wahlberg, F. Brandru, F. M. Brandao, H. B. van der Walle, G. Angelini, K. Thestrup‐EdersenD. Burrows, G. Ducombs, A. Tosti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


The frequency of positive reactions to 5‐chloro‐2‐methyl‐4‐isothiazolin‐3‐one (MCI/MI) were studied at 22 European cntact dermatitis clinics over a period of 1 year. A total of 4713 patients participated. All the patients were patch tested with nickel sulphate, formaldehyde, paraben‐mix, and MCI/MI 19.4% of the patients had positive patch tests to nickel, making this the most common allergen, 3% of the patients reacted to 100 ppm MCI/MI, while 2.6% reacted to formaldchyde and 1.1% to parabens. There was great variation in the frequency of MCI/MI sensitivity among the 22 centres. MCI/MI contact allergy was most common among women and in patients with facial dermatitis, while it was rarely seen in patients with dermatitis on the lower legs. There were no fluctuations in the number of positive patch tests to MCI/MI on a monthly basis when the results from all centres were combined. 117 of the 141 MCI/MI sensitized patients included in the study were retested 88% had positive patch tests when retested. 101 of the MCI/MI‐sensitive patients participated in a double ‐blind, placebo‐controlled product use test. This test showed that 31% of the MCI/MI‐sensitive patients had a positive reaction to a MCI/MI‐preserved product. Only a few patients reacted to a control product. It is concluded that the preservative MCI/MI is an important new contact allergen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)334-341
Number of pages8
JournalContact dermatitis
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • 2‐methyl‐4‐isothiazolin‐3‐one
  • 5‐chloro‐2‐methyl‐4‐isothiazolin‐3‐one
  • contact allergy
  • cosmetics
  • formaldehyde
  • multicentre study
  • nickel
  • parabens
  • patch testing technique
  • preservatives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Dermatology


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