Household product labelling insufficient for allergy sufferers

A review of data from 6845 patients patch-tested in Sydney and Melbourne between 1993 and 2006 found the most common preservative allergen was formaldehyde (4.6%).

The other common allergens were Euxyl K400 (3.3%), quaternium-15 (2.9%), diazolidinyl urea (2.4%), and methylchloroisothiazolinone/methylisothiazolinone (2.3%) – all found in common cosmetic, personal care and household products.

But while cosmetics and therapeutic goods must list all ingredients, the same rules do not apply to household products, “thus preventing sensitised individuals from properly assessing their exposure”, according to the authors from the Skin and Cancer Foundation and the Dermatology Department at Liverpool Hospital.

Formaldehyde can be used to a maximum concentration of 0.2% in cosmetics, 0.1% in oral hygiene products, 5% in nail hardeners and 0.005% in aerosols sprays. It is also a schedule 2 medicine, where there is no restriction on the