There is limited information regarding isothiazolinone content in residential wall paints in the United States.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of 5 isothiazolinones—methylisothiazolinone (MI), methylchloroisothiazolinone, benzisothiazolinone (BIT), butyl BIT, and octylisothiazolinone—in US residential wall paints.
Forty-seven paints were obtained from retailers in Minneapolis/St Paul, Minnesota. Paint samples were assessed for the presence of the 5 isothiazolinones using high-performance liquid chromatographic–mass spectrometry.
At least 1 isothiazolinone was detected in all 47 paints. However, no paint contained butyl BIT, and only 1 paint had octylisothiazolinone. The MI and BIT were found in 96% and 94% of the paints, respectively. Methylisothiazolinone ranged in concentration from 17 to 358 ppm, whereas BIT varied from 29 to 1111 ppm. Methylchloroisothiazolinone was found solely in oil-based paints. Isothiazolinones were declared in 15% of Safety Data Sheets but did not correlate with high-performance liquid chromatographic–mass spectrometry. One “preservative-free” paint had BIT at 71.5 ppm. Paint sheen was not statistically associated with BIT or MI concentrations. Unpigmented paints and paints with volatile organic compound claims had significantly lower concentrations of MI, but not BIT.
All paints contained at least 1 isothiazolinone. Methylisothiazolinone and BIT were the most common. Safety Data Sheets are insufficient for ascertaining isothiazolinone content in US paints.
From the *University of Minnesota School of Medicine, Minneapolis;
†Department of Dermatology, Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, MN;
‡Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health/Health Effects Laboratory Division, Morgantown, WV;
§Department of Dermatology, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis; and
∥Park Nicollet Contact Dermatitis Clinic, Bloomington, MN.
Address reprint requests to Erin M. Warshaw, MD, Minneapolis VA Medical Center, Minneapolis, MN.
This study was supported by an American Contact Dermatitis Society Research Grant.
The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
This study involved the use of resources and facilities at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center as well as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or views of the US Department of Veterans Affairs, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or US Government.