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Author: Vanessa Ngan, Staff Writer, 2012.
Methyldibromoglutaronitrile (MDBGN) is a bromine-containing preservative that has been used in cosmetic and toiletry preparations as well as in some industrial products. It is also commonly known as dibromodicyanobutane. A maximum concentration of 0.1% MDBGN in stay-on and rinse-off cosmetics was approved for use in the mid-1980s and animal tests showed it to be a weak sensitiser compared to other preservatives used at the time. By the 1990’s it became a commonly used preservative, particularly in cosmetic and self-hygiene products.
However, methyldibromoglutaronitrile was soon discovered to cause allergic contact dermatitis reactions in eczema patients. Rates of sensitisation to MDBGN increased from 0.7% in 1991 to 3.5% in 2000 in patch test studies from 16 European centres. In the United States, sensitivity rates were up to 11.7%. In 2005, the European Union banned the use of MDBGN in stay-on products, and then later in 2007 also in rinse-off products. Recent data from Europe observed a significant decrease in positive patch test reactions since the ban of MDBGN.
|Cosmetics/Self-hygiene products||Commercial/industrial products|
In methyldibromoglutaronitrile-allergic individuals, contact with MDBGN produces classic allergic contact dermatitis.
Methyldibromoglutaronitrile allergy is diagnosed by performing patch testing. Concentrations of 0.5% methyldibromoglutaronitrile in petrolatum can be used for patch testing. It is part of the European Standard Series in the baseline series of patch test allergens.
Following confirmation of methyldibromoglutaronitrile allergy, the causative agent must be removed followed by treatment as for any acute dermatitis/eczema; this may include use of topical steroid and emollients.
Patients with methyldibromoglutaronitrile allergy should avoid direct skin contact with products containing this preservative. If you have a sensitivity be sure to read product labels in all personal care products before you use them. Be aware of alternative names for MDBGN. If unsure, ask your pharmacist for advice or a suitable alternative.
Alert your doctor, pharmacist, dentist, veterinarian, beautician, and hairdresser to the fact that you have an allergy to MDBGN.
If MDBGN is used in your workplace, use heavy-duty gloves and/or protective clothing to prevent contact.
Your dermatologist may have further specific advice, particularly if you are highly sensitive to MDBGN.
CAS number: 35691-65-7
Cross-reactions: none of major concern
Appearance: white to yellow crystals
Patch test: 0.5% methyldibromoglutaronitrile in petrolatum
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