Ask Nikita: What is methylisothiazolinone and is it used in Bio-D products?

ask nikitaIn our first ‘Ask Nikita’ blog post, we’re asking our resident super-chemist Nikita all about methylisothiazolinone – known as MI or MIT – which has been in the headlines a lot, for all the wrong reasons.

We’ve received numerous enquiries from customers about MIT – there are concerns that it causes and exacerbates contact dermatitis (the nasty condition which can make skin red, itchy and blistered.)

Here, Nikita explains more about MIT and if it is ever included in any Bio-D products. Over to you Nikita!

Nikita says: “Methylisothiazolinone – known as MI or MIT – is used in a wide range of personal care products: shampoos, hand washes, baby wipes and more. It is a preservative and a powerful biocide, capable of killing living organisms (germs).

Dermatologists warn that people are being exposed to much higher doses of MIT than ever before, which has led to a steep rise in allergies known as contact dermatitis, where the skin becomes red, itchy and blistered. One in 12 adults and one in five children in the UK now have eczema, of which contact dermatitis is one of the most common types.

It’s been said that MIT is second only to nickel in causing contact allergies. MIT was previously mixed with another preservative, Methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI). But concerns about MCI causing allergies meant that some manufacturers started using MIT as a single agent. Used alone, it has been included in products at a much higher concentration. And experts say that since its concentration in products increased, there has been a serious rise in cases of contact dermatitis.

geranium handwashAt Bio-D, we aim to avoid adding unnecessary ingredients to our products; where appropriate, we use the scale of pH to help us preserve them. Most bacteria cannot function in lower or higher pH ranges, and our products that need to be mixed with water before use (Washing Up Liquid, Hand Wash) become neutral in pH when used. There is no need to add any extra biocides.

In our disinfectant and sanitising products (All Purpose Sanitiser; Home and Garden Sanitiser), we use lactic acid, which is derived from corn and occurs naturally in the body; it’s a very effective preservative. And these products tend to be at the lower end of the pH range anyway, because of the inclusion of lactic acid – so again do not require any additional, unnatural preservative.

Where we DO require a preservative – in products such as Furniture Polish and Bathroom Cleaner- we use food grade preservative with the lowest level of risk attached to it, avoiding the need for ‘nasties’ such as parabens and MIT.

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