Acrylates are plastic materials that are formed by the polymerization of monomers derived from acrylic or methacrylic acid. They have found numerous applications in paints, varnishes and adhesives, in the printing industry, in the medical and dental professions, and in artificial nails. Beginning in the 1950s, many reports of occupational and nonoccupational allergic contact dermatitis to (meth)acrylate monomers have been published. These molecules are strong irritants, and patch testing can induce active sensitization. When patch tested, acrylate-allergic patients often display multiple positive tests. These reactions may represent cross-reactions, or concomitant reactions due to the presence, in the products responsible for sensitization, of impurities not disclosed in material safety data sheets. (Meth)acrylates are volatile and unstable chemicals, as demonstrated by their rapid disappearance from commercially available patch test allergens when exposed to air for more than a few hours.
From the Division of Dermatology, McGill University Health Centre, Montréal, Quebec, Canada.
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