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Is benzyl alcohol a significant contact sensitizer?


Geier, Johannes; Ballmer-Weber, Barbara; Buhl, Timo; Rieker-Schwienbacher, J; Mahler, Vera; Dickel, Heinrich; Schubert, Steffen (2022). Is benzyl alcohol a significant contact sensitizer? Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venerology, 36(6):866-872.

Abstract

Background: Benzyl alcohol is a widely used preservative, solvent and fragrance material. According to published data, it is a rare sensitizer in humans.

Objectives: To identify characteristics and sensitization patterns of patients with positive patch test reactions to benzyl alcohol and to check the reliability of the patch test preparation benzyl alcohol 1% pet.

Patients and methods: Retrospective analysis of data from the Information Network of Departments of Dermatology (IVDK), 2010-2019.

Results: Of 70 867 patients patch tested with benzyl alcohol 1% pet., 146 (0.21%) showed a positive reaction, most of them (89%) only weakly positive. The number of doubtful and irritant reactions significantly exceeded the number of positive reactions. Reproducibility of positive test reactions was low. Among benzyl alcohol-positive patients, compared to benzyl alcohol-negative patients, there were significantly more patients with leg dermatitis (17.8% vs. 8.6%), more patients aged 40 years or more (81.5% vs. 70.5%) and more patients who were tested because of a suspected intolerance reaction to topical medications (34.9% vs. 16.6%). Concomitant positive reactions were mainly seen to fragrances, preservatives and ointment bases.

Conclusions: Sensitization to benzyl alcohol occurs very rarely, mainly in patients with stasis dermatitis. In view of our results, benzyl alcohol cannot be regarded as a significant contact allergen, and therefore marking it as skin sensitizer 1B and labelling it with H 317 is not helpful.

Abstract

Background: Benzyl alcohol is a widely used preservative, solvent and fragrance material. According to published data, it is a rare sensitizer in humans.

Objectives: To identify characteristics and sensitization patterns of patients with positive patch test reactions to benzyl alcohol and to check the reliability of the patch test preparation benzyl alcohol 1% pet.

Patients and methods: Retrospective analysis of data from the Information Network of Departments of Dermatology (IVDK), 2010-2019.

Results: Of 70 867 patients patch tested with benzyl alcohol 1% pet., 146 (0.21%) showed a positive reaction, most of them (89%) only weakly positive. The number of doubtful and irritant reactions significantly exceeded the number of positive reactions. Reproducibility of positive test reactions was low. Among benzyl alcohol-positive patients, compared to benzyl alcohol-negative patients, there were significantly more patients with leg dermatitis (17.8% vs. 8.6%), more patients aged 40 years or more (81.5% vs. 70.5%) and more patients who were tested because of a suspected intolerance reaction to topical medications (34.9% vs. 16.6%). Concomitant positive reactions were mainly seen to fragrances, preservatives and ointment bases.

Conclusions: Sensitization to benzyl alcohol occurs very rarely, mainly in patients with stasis dermatitis. In view of our results, benzyl alcohol cannot be regarded as a significant contact allergen, and therefore marking it as skin sensitizer 1B and labelling it with H 317 is not helpful.

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Additional indexing

Contributors:IVDK
Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Dermatology Clinic
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Dermatology
Health Sciences > Infectious Diseases
Uncontrolled Keywords:Infectious Diseases, Dermatology
Language:English
Date:1 June 2022
Deposited On:21 Dec 2022 09:58
Last Modified:28 Jun 2024 01:36
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0926-9959
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/jdv.17968
PubMed ID:35080274
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)