In response to rising concerns that the cosmetic preservative methylisothiazolinone (MI) may be linked to increasing cases of the skin allergy contact dermatitis among the general population in Europe, the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) has issued a statement affirming that MI is on the list of approved preservatives for use in cosmetic products and that the ingredient’s safety has been confirmed by the European Commission’s independent experts.

According to a news source, CTPA issued the statement after a group of dermatologists revealed that it plans to present MI patch-test findings at an upcoming medical conference. Although MI is reportedly considered safe and non-toxic, European regulations now permit stronger concentrations than previously allowed, and experts reportedly claim that since MI concentrations have increased, a sharp rise in cases of contact dermatitis has been observed.

John McFadden, a dermatologist at St. John’s Institute of Dermatology in London, said “We are in the midst of an outbreak of allergy to a preservative which we have not seen before in terms of scale in our lifetime. Many of our patients have suffered acute dermatitis with redness and swelling of the face. I would ask the cosmetics industry not to wait for legislation but to get on and address the problem before the situation gets worse.”

“We look forward to hearing about the studies in full at the conference,” said CTPA Director General Chris Flower. “Patch testing, although important for an individual, does not reflect the real life scenario in the general population. Neither does it always mean that a person would react to the substance when it is used at a much lower, safe level in a cosmetic product.”

“Human safety is the cosmetic industry’s number one priority; in fact it is the law,” Flower added. “Every cosmetic product must undergo a rigorous safety assessment before it is placed on the market. The assessment covers all of the ingredients, the final product, how and where the product is to be used, how often and by whom and must be carried out by qualified assessors.” See The Telegraph, July 10, 2013.