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Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde-Releasers

  • Anton de Groot
  • Mari-Ann Flyvholm
Living reference work entry

Abstract

This 31-page chapter in Kanerva’s Occupational Dermatology, 3rd edition (2018), discusses contact allergy to and allergic contact dermatitis from formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasers. Formaldehyde has many applications, which are shown in tabular format in this publication. However, it is a ubiquitous and important allergen. Contact allergy to formaldehyde occurs frequently in women with hand dermatitis. Sensitization may also be caused by occupational exposure to formaldehyde, especially in metalworkers, nurses, other (para)medical professionals, and cosmetologists. Formaldehyde is widely distributed in the environment and is difficult to avoid completely. Thus, even in patients actively trying to avoid products containing it, the dermatitis will infrequently heal completely and permanently. In 2013, the concentration used for patch testing to detect formaldehyde sensitization was raised from 1% to 2% in water, as the latter reveals up to 80% more cases of sensitization.

Formaldehyde-releasers are chemicals, which release formaldehyde as a result of decomposition and/or chemicals synthesized from formaldehyde that may still contain residues of free formaldehyde. There are over 30 formaldehyde-releasers with a wide array of applications; most are used as preservatives in cosmetics, as antimicrobials in metalworking fluids, paint, lacquers, and varnishes or as durable press chemical finishes in textiles. These are shown in this chapter in tabular format with common names, IUPAC names, synonyms, trade names, CAS numbers, and applications.

Positive patch tests to formaldehyde-releasers are often accompanied by concomitant reactions to formaldehyde; in these cases, the patch test to the releaser may be the result of an allergic reaction to the formaldehyde which is present in or released by the donor test material.

With the exception of those used in cosmetics (e.g., quaternium-15, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, and 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol), there is little published information on the relevance of observed positive patch test reactions to formaldehyde-releasers. Most reactions to releasers used in metalworking fluids appear not to be relevant with the exception of N,N′-methylenebis(5-methyloxazolidine). The presence of formaldehyde-releasers used as durable press chemical finishes in clothes appears to be safe for consumers. None of the formaldehyde-releasers are important causes of occupational allergic contact dermatitis.

Keywords

Formaldehyde Formaldehyde-releaser Preservative Antimicrobial Cosmetics Metalworking fluids Durable press chemical finish Diazolidinyl urea Imidazolidinyl urea DMDM hydantoin Quaternium-15 2-Bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol Bioban ® N,N′-Methylenebis(5-methyloxazolidine) tris(N-hydroxyethyl)hexahydrotriazine tris(Hydroxymethyl)nitromethane Urea-formaldehyde Melamine/formaldehyde Dimethylol dihydroxyethyleneurea Methenamine N-Methylolchloracetamide 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Acdegroot publishingWapserveenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.National Research Centre for the Working EnvironmentCopenhagenDenmark

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