Contact Allergy-Emerging Allergens and Public Health Impact

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Apr 1;17(7):2404. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17072404.


Contact allergy (sensitisation) and allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) resulting from it have a considerable public health impact. For the present review, all pertinent articles were systematically searched via Medline and Web of Science™; additionally, all available issues of the journals "Contact Dermatitis" and "Dermatitis" were manually searched, covering the years 2018-2019, thereby extending and re-focusing a previous similar review. New allergens, or previously described allergens found in a new exposure context or of other current importance, are described in sections according to substance classes, e.g., metals, preservatives, fragrances. As a common finding in many investigations, a lack of information on product composition has been noted, for instance, regarding a newly described allergen in canvas shoes (dimethylthiocarbamylbenzothiazole sulfide) and, most notably, absence of co-operation from manufacturers of glucose-monitoring devices and insulin pumps, respectively. These latter devices have been shown to cause severe ACD in a considerable number of diabetic patients caused by the liberation of isobornyl acrylate and N,N'-dimethylacrylamide, respectively, as demonstrated by an international collaboration between dermatologists and chemists. Improved and complete ingredient labelling for all types of products, and not just cosmetics, must be put on the legislative agenda.

Keywords: allergic contact dermatitis; contact allergy; contact sensitisation; epidemiology; prevention; review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allergens* / analysis
  • Cosmetics
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Patch Tests
  • Perfume
  • Preservatives, Pharmaceutical
  • Public Health* / statistics & numerical data
  • Public Health* / trends


  • Allergens
  • Cosmetics
  • Perfume
  • Preservatives, Pharmaceutical