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Veterinarian Reviewed on June 20, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
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Methylisothiazolinone or simply called MIT is classified as a preservative. It belongs to a group of isothiazolinones which are used in many personal care products such as shampoos and soaps. These chemicals have the amazing ability to control the growth of microbes in a solution. It may also be added to products to preserve its smell.

Methylisothiazolinone is used in many industries such as paper, fuels as well as in the mining industry. Although the chemicals that belong to the isothiazolinones are perfect in preserving products and in keeping them microbe free, they are however toxic to fish and the environment as well. Methylisothiazolinone is found to have caused many occupational illnesses and researchers have found this product to be an allergenic and a cytotoxic as well.

History and Origin

The use of isothiazolinones especially methylisothiazolinone in many industries is definitely indispensable. Its use has been widely accredited especially in the field of preservation and anti-fouling. The major setback with the use of this chemical is the effect of its use for environment and at the same time to humans who come in contact with isothiazolinones in many industries. There are also trace non-occupational hazards of isothiazolinones in the many products that we use in our homes, such as in air conditioning units, paper, adhesives and also in leave-on personal products and cosmetics.

Ancient Uses

The use of methylisothiazolinone was unheard of during the ancient times. Preservation of food however was already done to make harvested foods last throughout the season. Salt was the main preserving agent and it was usually used to preserve fish, meat, game, fruits and also some vegetables.

Modern Uses

Methylisothiazolinone is used in industries where microbial growth must be controlled over a water-containing solution. In personal care products, it has been effectively used in shampoos, soaps, liquid detergents and in cleaning solutions for the home. Methylisothiazolinone is also used for the production of paper; it is used to control slime development on production. It is found in adhesives that we use in the home and in industrial settings; it controls microbial development in these products.
There are still leave-on cosmetics that use methylisothiazolinone such as hand creams, moisturizing lotions and even make-up. Food labels and containers may also contain traces of methylisothiazolinone as well.

Side Effects

Methylisothiazolinone is found to be toxic in both animals and in humans. In many countries like Japan and Canada, this product along with its counterparts, are restricted to use. Thus, it would be best to check labels of personal care products for these chemicals along with other isothiazolinones.

If you have sensitive skin, it is best to consult a dermatologist regarding the ideal skin care products to use. If you wear makeup, it is always a very good habit to remove every trace of makeup before retiring at night. Never leave makeup on your face for an extended period of time.

If you work in an industry which uses isothiazolinones for preserving and preserving the smell of products, wear protective equipment to prevent direct contact with these chemicals. Always consult a medical professional for any contact injury with methylisothiazolinone at work.

Read also: Arnica Oil

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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