Allergy UK’s Endorsement Schemes and Methylisothiazolinone

Allergy UK is the operational name of the British Allergy Foundation – one of the British charities dedicated to supporting those with sensitivities and allergies.

Seal of Approval Logo PNG 300ppiThey have two endorsement schemes. Their Seal of Approval (left) is given to products which, for example, “have significantly reduced allergen/chemical content” and meet certain standards set by allergy specialists. Their Allergy Friendly Products award, meanwhile, is intended for “products which may be of benefit to sufferers of allergy …”

Recently, a reader drew my attention to the matter of Fairy Non-Bio laundry products, some of which were being described on supermarket websites as having been awarded the Seal of Approval.

I found this surprising, as some contain MI, and contacted Allergy UK. Their deputy CEO Lindsey McManus told me that they had endorsed a range of Fairy Non-Bio products previously, when none contained MI, but that Fairy “… reformulated Fairy Non-Bio Liquid and Gel which then contained methylisothiazolinone. As a result, we advised them we could no longer endorse these two products which meant they could no longer use our Seal of Approval.”

Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 21.13.49This happened in March 2015. Fairy’s owners, Procter & Gamble, ceased marketing the Seal of Approval for the Fairy Non-Bio product range, and communicated this to all parties they work with, but this message clearly has not got through fully, because Tesco’s page for Fairy Non-Bio Washing Gel (which contains both BIT and MI, as can be seen) still mentions the Seal of Approval in the blurb (see right, screen grab taken 20th March 2016). 

For clarity, it is the Fairy Non-Bio Liquid and Gel which contain isothiazolinones.

It appears that the Fairy Non-Bio Powder / Granules and Fairy Non-Bio Tablets / Liquid Tablets / Capsules are MI-free.

All Procter & Gamble products in various countries (including brands such as Bold, Ariel, Febreze, Lenor, Daz, Viakal and many more) and their ingredients can be checked at their site here. As always, check labels too, though.

Allergy UK Policy on MI

Lindsay also told us that “Allergy UK do not endorse products containing methylisothiazolinone which come into contact with the skin, e.g. personal care products or laundry products.”

Good news. But this does mean products such as MI-containing paints, surface cleaners or air fresheners can be endorsed. And in fact, at least one endorsed paint, Keim Ecosil-ME, does contain MI, albeit at a very low level – maximum 0.0006%. Keim told us that this was the product in their range with the lowest MI and that the MI ” … isn’t added to the paint by Keim, but present as an impurity via the raw materials and therefore we feel it responsible to disclose it”. Indeed – but it’s still not MI Free.  

Ecover ZERO – MI Free

Possibly the most useful of Allergy UK endorsed products are the Cleaning Products – but bear in mind that only laundry products are guaranteed MI-free, not surface cleaners, for which the usual precautions must apply. That said, many will be MI-free and also possibly free of other allergen triggers / fragrances. 

Surcare laundry products are included (other than their fabric conditioner – which does contain isothiazolinones).

Ecover Zero products (which are additionally fragrance free – pictured above) are completely safe (this does not necessarily apply in other countries, such as the US).

Many products in the Ecozone Collection have Allergy Friendly Product status (some Ecozone products do contain MI / BIT though).

It’s good to see wholly MI-free brands Greenscents and Bio-D with endorsements too. 

Looking for household cleaning? Try our MI-Free Kitchen Directory and MI-Free Bathroom Directory.
Looking for washing products? Try our MI-free Laundry Products Directory.


  1. Michelle Randall

    Please realize that those of us sensitized to methylisothiazolinone , there is no “safe” amount. This chemical causes blistering , open sores and itching that compares to poison ivy.

    1. MI Free (Post author)

      I do understand that. Is there something in the post that you disagree with?

  2. Pam Enani

    Today I’ve just checked my Fairy non bio washing gel and I’m horrified it’s got MI in
    In 2013 I collapsed with severe skin rash like blisters felt like bee stings. Six months oral steroids / 2 years topical steroids but my skin was damaged. I’ve always been very careful and bought good name products.
    MI is banned in Canada and should be withdrawn from all detergents in UK.
    A delegation of Dermatologists said if it had been put into food it would be criminal negligence so how do they get away with putting it in other products. My skin rash has been getting worse again and I’ve gone back to topical steroids again.
    I thought MI had been withdrawn in the UK
    Now I will stop using Fairy gel for sure and I’ve used Fairy for over 24 years.
    Shame on you I hope you experience the suffering I have had


    1. MI Free (Post author)

      Sorry you’ve had such a tough time of it, Pam. Isothiazolinones are not banned neither in the UK nor in Canada, so you have to check labels. There’s lots of advice all over this site. Let me know if you need specific help. All the best, Alex

  3. Nan Barbour

    I know this is off subject but does anyone know of allergic reactions to dimethicone? I suspect this also causes similar reactions to MIT.

    1. MI Free (Post author)

      Dimethicone and other silicones are rare allergens, but of course if you have a contact dermatitis allergic response to them, then symptoms will be similar – as they are for many of the contact allergens.

  4. Emma

    Hi I’ve just found out I’m allergic to Isolthiazolinone (MI) along with another few allergens. I’m struggling to look through all of my products (all meant for sensitive skin). Could you please let me know if Persil non bio 3 In 1 capsules have MI in? Also if anyone could recommend a facial skin care brand which is safe?

    1. MI Free (Post author)

      I think they probably do as a lot of Persil has has an isothiazolinone. You need to look for methylisothiazolinone, methylchloroisothiazolinone, octylisothiazolinone or benzisothiazolinone on the ingredients. It should be listed on the box.

    2. MI Free (Post author)

      Sorry – I thought you were posting on another of my sites, so I referred you this site in my previous comment. In terms of facial skin care, there are many which are safe. Take a browse through the cosmetics drop down. It very much depends on what you are looking for in terms of type of product, price range, fragranced / unfragranced etc. There is a lot of info on this site.

  5. Jane Fella

    Does anyone know if the ingredients have changed in fairy non bio gel & liquid? My child has had severe eczema since January and I’m wondering if this could be the reason. I’ve always used fairy and comfort but never had this problem before. Any help would be appreciated.

    1. MI Free (Post author)

      Sorry for the delay, Jane. I’ve not heard of any changes, but they themselves are best placed to answer. MI has to be legally declared on detergents so if it’s not on the packaging, it shouldn’t be present in the product. Best wishes, Alex.

  6. Phil

    Hi. I have fairly recently started to itch sporadically all over my body and have developed a few red marks that range from sores to eczema-like patches and I’ve got red around my eyes. Been to my GP who couldn’t accurately diagnose but has prescribed a few hydrocortisone and anti-fungal creams.

    But I am now wondering whether it could be my washing detergent. Have looked on the ingredients but some brands make it so difficult. I wonder if you had any information on:

    Fairy non-bio pods/capsules
    Persil 3-in-1 non-bio capsules
    Lenor in-wash scent booster beads

    I can’t seem to see any obvious MI in these but have been told they could be hidden within other ingredients.

    Your help would be so much appreciated as this itching is maddening. Also: any advice on which brands I should be going for in the UK would be great.

    1. MI Free (Post author)

      Sorry to hear this, Phil. I don’t have the ingredients of those products so can’t check whether they are free of MI and other isothiazolinones (such as benzisothiazolinone, octylisothiazolinone), but all have to be declared if used as preservatives. (They can theoretically be ‘hidden’ as preservatives of other ingredients, but the quantity is likely to be so small, and would be irrelevant in the case of a laundry detergent which is rinsed away.) If your symptoms are due to contact allergy, then patch testing would be the way forward towards identification of the problematic ingredients. You could try experimenting with unscented / fragrance free laundry detergents (sometimes described as being ‘sensitive’), as fragrance and perfume can be irritant to many, and do things like add another rinse cycle / avoid overloading the washing machine / airing clothes for longer periods. You might find some suggestions for products under Laundry, under Household, in the drop-down menu. Best wishes, Alex.

      1. Phil

        Thank you, Alex. Truly appreciate your reply. I’ve just ordered a free trial of SMOL laundry pods. (Have you heard of these? Any thoughts?)

        I will try all the things you suggest.

        1. MI Free (Post author)

          The fragrance free one? Certainly worth a go. The preservative is phenoxyethanol which is not usually allergenic. Good luck!

        2. fiona

          how did you get on with the smol?


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