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Toxicol Res. 2018 Oct;34(4):355-361. doi: 10.5487/TR.2018.34.4.355. Epub 2018 Oct 15.

Mixture Toxicity of Methylisothiazolinone and Propylene Glycol at a Maximum Concentration for Personal Care Products.

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College of Pharmacy, Dongduk Women's University, Seoul, Korea.


Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) has been used in combination with methylchloroisothiazolinone (CMIT) for cosmetic products such as shampoo, body lotion, and skin care products. The mixture of CMIT/MIT has been found to cause allergic contact dermatitis and is thus no longer permitted for use as a preservative in leave-on cosmetics. However, MIT itself was approved as a stand-alone preservative at a maximum concentration of 100 ppm as the toxicity was derived from CMIT rather than MIT. However, in many countries, allergic skin irritation caused by MIT remains a social concern. In this study, skin irritation was assessed for the presence of MIT, propylene glycol, and their mixture using a 3D human skin model EpiDerm™. Although non-diluted MIT causes serious skin toxicity, skin irritation was not observed at a concentration of 100 ppm, the maximum permissible level for cosmetics and personal care products according to European regulations. Propylene glycol, the most widely used vehicle for MIT, did not cause skin irritation in the 3D skin model. The results are expected to provide information for regulatory policies and guidelines on the use of biocides in consumer products.


Methylisothiazolinone; Mixture toxicity; Propylene glycol; Skin irritation

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