The UK's Daily Mail
says there is an 'allergy epidemic' that's being caused by a common preservative ingredient - methylisothiazolinone (MI)
- and it is used by many of the most well-known brands to extend a product's shelf life.
Johnson & Johnson and Molten Brown
have already announced they will remove the ingredient from the products that contain it, while Nivea and L'Oreal
are feeling the pressure by consumers - and the media coverage - to do the same.
This comes after the television series, BBC Watchdog
, aired a show over two years ago about a severe allergic reaction one woman suffered after using a product from J&J's Piz Buin sun care line.
After the episode aired, the BBC reported that a team of researchers, led by Dr. Ian White of the St John’s Institute of Dermatology, identified a different chemical in the product that was causing widespread adverse reactions during patch tests - and the team says they advised J&J to reformulate then, but the product was never changed.
Now, the same research team has identified the second potential allergen in the same J&J product, MI. White told BBC watchdog that one in ten of the patients he now sees are allergic to MI.
But - MI is a common preservative considered safe, and used in many beauty products.
defended its use, telling the Daily Mail
that MI helps preserve a product's safety by protecting against contamination from microorganisms.
A spokesperson for J&J's
responded by saying they received 80 consumer complaints relating to Piz Buin during the one year period, May 2012 - May 2103, from consumers in the UK and Ireland. The number represents .01% of sales - proving that the preservative is not an allergen for most.
Still, J&J has said that by summer of 2014, a new formulation that doesn't contain MI will be on shelves in the UK.