Skin sensitisation quantitative risk assessment (QRA) based on aggregate dermal exposure to methylisothiazolinone in personal care and household cleaning products

Food Chem Toxicol. 2018 Feb;112:242-250. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2017.12.054. Epub 2017 Dec 25.


Contact allergy to preservatives is an important public health problem. Ideally, new substances should be evaluated for the risk on skin sensitisation before market entry, for example by using a quantitative risk assessment (QRA) as developed for fragrances. As a proof-of-concept, this QRA was applied to the preservative methylisothiazolinone (MI), a common cause of contact allergy. MI is used in different consumer products, including personal care products (PCPs) and household cleaning products (HCPs). Aggregate exposure to MI in PCPs and HCPs was therefore assessed with the Probabilistic Aggregated Consumer Exposure Model (PACEM). Two exposure scenarios were evaluated: scenario 1 calculated aggregate exposure on actual MI product concentrations before the restricted use in PCPs and scenario 2 calculated aggregate exposure using the restrictions for MI in PCPs. The QRA for MI showed that in scenarios 1 and 2, the proportion of the population at risk for skin sensitisation is 0.7% and 0.5%, respectively. The restricted use of MI in PCPs does not seem very effective in lowering the risk on skin sensitization. To conclude, it is important to consider aggregate exposure from the most important consumer products into consideration in the risk assessment.

Keywords: Aggregate exposure assessment; Cosmetic products; Household cleaning products; Methylisothiazolinone; Quantitative risk assessment; Skin sensitization.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Cosmetics / analysis*
  • Cosmetics / toxicity
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / etiology*
  • Detergents / analysis*
  • Detergents / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Perfume / analysis
  • Perfume / toxicity
  • Preservatives, Pharmaceutical / analysis*
  • Preservatives, Pharmaceutical / toxicity
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Thiazoles / analysis*
  • Thiazoles / toxicity
  • Toxicity Tests / methods*


  • Cosmetics
  • Detergents
  • Perfume
  • Preservatives, Pharmaceutical
  • Thiazoles
  • 2-methyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one