Methylisothiazolinone Contact Allergy Prevalence in Western Canada: Increased Detection With 2000 ppm Patch Test Allergen

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Contact allergy to methylisothiazolinone (MI) or to the combination of methylchloroisothiazolinone and MI (MCI/MI) is an important and increasing cause of allergic contact dermatitis, with prevalence rates higher than 10% in some centers.


The objective of this retrospective chart review is to provide a western Canadian perspective on whether the positive patch testing rate to MCI/MI or MI increased during the testing period of 2008 to 2015 and whether the addition of MI at 2000 ppm resulted in increased detection.


We conducted a retrospective chart review of patients who tested positive (n = 104) of 2177 total patients who were patch tested for MCI/MI or MI at a community dermatology clinic in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, from January 2008 through April 2015.


One hundred and four patients had positive patch testing results for MCI/MI, MI, or both. Positive results increased over the study period, with the highest prevalence in 2015 at 9.41% for MCI/MI, 12.94% for MI, and 15.29% for either. When testing for MI at 2000 ppm was introduced in 2013, the initial positive patch testing prevalence was 6.6%, followed by 10.1% in 2014, and 12.9% in 2015.


We demonstrate an increasing prevalence of MCI/MI and MI allergy between 2008 and 2015, with the highest prevalence of 15.29% in 2015 for MCI/MI and/or MI allergy. The addition of MI 2000 ppm greatly increased the positive patch testing yield for MI. Our results support the importance of continued efforts to monitor and regulate these preservatives.

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