Allergy friendly glues

The abstract of an interesting new study set to appear in Dermatitis Journal has just been published looking at US consumer adhesives — ie glues. Read it here.

The aim was to examine popular glues for isothiazolinone content, not only the big 4 of MI, MCI, BIT and OIT, but also the lesser-known butyl-BIT — although that happened to be the only one not found in a sample of almost 40 adhesives analysed using high-tech techniques.

Here is a summary of the main findings:

1/ 50% of the adhesives contained at least one isothiazolinone preservative
2/ 40% contained two isothiazolinones
3/ Most isothiazolinone found was MI and / or MCI
4/ Six adhesives contained BIT, and only one contained OIT

and, perhaps the most interesting of all:

5/ All-purpose glues had a lower concentration of MI and MCI, whereas craft glues were associated with higher concentrations of MI and MCI.
6/ Fabric adhesives were associated with a higher risk of containing BIT.


Finding safe glues and adhesives

This is not easy, and I admit I’ve not looked into this subject in depth. I will start to contact brands directly this week.

Blogger Jill Sandager, who says that most PVA glues contain isothiazolinones, touched upon the issue of glues in this post about arts supplies, which may offer some leads. For example, a commenter to that thread said that in the US these Colorations Glue Stick products are apparently safe.

If you know of any other confirmed safe options, of all types of glues, do leave a comment. Same goes if you’d like me to investigate any particular brands on your behalf. Will report back in the coming weeks ….

Postscript: For the article on safe glues and adhesives, click here.


  1. Christine

    This is good info, thank you for sharing.

    I hope people realize that this is not just about craft products, **adhesives are in health and personal products**. Over the last 5 years I’ve become increasingly allergic to Bandaids (just the adhesive part). This became a huge issue when I had a small skin legion removed by a dermatologist and I had to keep the wound covered for 3 weeks. Unfortunately, the area involved could not accommodate a wrap-style bandage and I was forced to use an adhesive type bandage. The skin around the wound became increasingly inflamed and painful and it was almost intolerable. One dermatologist recently recommended that I use the white paper-like “hypoallergenic” sensitive skin tape and make my own bandage with gauze, but in fact I’m allergic to that kind of tape too (and I’ve tried several brands).

    Furthermore, about 2 years ago I had an allergic reaction inside my mouth to some sort of “glue” used by my dentist while he was working on a tooth repair! For the dental work, the allergic reaction took 1-2 days to surface and I didn’t even know that it was an allergic reaction, I thought maybe I had developed a bad gum infection from the work they did. But, it was the dentist who looked at it and figured it out.

    Take care everyone!

    1. MI Free (Post author)

      I’ve definitely heard of dental ‘glue’ containing MI, so I suspect it was that. You’re right of course, Christine – it’s not just craft products or liquid glues and adhesives, and I will get to bandaids and plasters at some point … So much to cover, but will get there eventually! Thanks for stopping by. Alex.

      1. Dana Todd

        Oh lordy…more to worry about at the dentist!

        1. MI Free (Post author)

          As if the needles and sedatives weren’t bad enough …

  2. Heidi

    When I had my 5th c section I had it in my notes that I was allergic to adhesive tape but my ob/gyn didn’t pay attention to my ore pre op notes and used steri strips across the entire incision causing painful blisters under each one. I was in so much pain and somehow from the reaction I got MRSA which wasn’t realized until 5 days after I got home and then a dermatologist figured it out. I still didn’t know I was allergic to MI and MCI. I just knew from my previous c sections when they had used the tape that i had a reaction. Years later after so many allergic reactions and blisters, swollen eyelids, inflamed hands, I went for allergy testing and learned what I was allergic to. This stuff is in so many products (this didn’t happen until my 40’s) I’m even having one now while at a conference in Orlando. I haven’t figured out best thing to treat the condition once it happens so any advice would be appreciated. By the way, I could have sued the hospital/dr and chose not to, but At least I didn’t have to pay my deductible for myself or my last baby but I was robbed of the special time with my newborn. I hope more manufacturers can realize this is poison and find alternatives .

    1. MI Free (Post author)

      Oh my word … what an awful story. So sorry you went through this. People find therapeutic bathing, using very ‘pure’ skincare protocol (eg just natural cleansing oils) and some products such as aquaphor healing ointments helpful for flares. Some use anti-histamines but I’m uncertain whether this is helpful, or helpful for all, anyway. Hopefully others will have suggestions.

  3. Dawn

    I, too, have a reaction to the adhesive in Band-Aids. I haven’t been able to find out any information about ingredients (MI). It is the same with other brands. I’m just hoping I don’t get injured since I can’t use adhesive bandages. Using a wrap-around gauze works in some cases, but there are many areas of the body where this does not work (ie: face). Thank you for your research and detective work. I hope you will be able to find a brand that does not use MI. I’ve tried, to no avail.

    1. MI Free (Post author)

      Will try to look into this very issue asap! Still looking at glues at the moment …

      1. Dawn

        Thank you for the work you do. I was wondering if you’ve had a chance to check into bandages yet, if there are any brands that don’t use MI in the adhesive. Over the past year, I’ve had instances where, for example, I’ve cut myself cooking and wish I could secure it with a band aid of some sort. Or wish I could go out in public with my wound covered as to avoid germs. I’m still at a loss when it won’t do to cover the wound with gauze and wrap-around bandage, depending on where it is. Any information would be appreciated. (I am in the U.S.)

  4. Christina Weiss

    My 8 year old daughter was recently diagnosed with an MI/MCI allergy. I can’t find any bandaids. Going to have to call companies. Any help with this issue would be appreciated.

    1. MI Free (Post author)

      Are you in the US, Christina?

  5. Kris

    Have there been any updates regarding MI/MCI-free bandaid or medical tape brands? I have my final reading of my allergy patch test tomorrow, but it looks MI is definitely positive. Medical adhesives of any sort always give me some sort of rash, so if you’ve researched this, I’d appreciate any insight, thanks!

    1. MI Free (Post author)

      Not yet, sorry. It is on my to-do, but a very difficult subject to research. If you post on my Facebook page – or give me full details here – I can share it there and ask for input.


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