Following my recent piece on the research into isothiazolinones in glues, I set about looking for glues free from MI and related preservatives. Sourcing safe options hasn’t been easy, but here’s what I’ve found out so far, with hopefully more options to come. Please draw my attention to other glues you’d like me to investigate in the comments.
Remember to exercise the usual precautions, as glues often contain other sensitisers and can release toxic off-gas. Use in a well-ventilated area, and consider wearing a face mask, especially if you use them regularly.
Gorilla Glues (Worldwide)
They told they were unable to provide full details relating to the composition of their products due to confidentiality reasons, but added that of their products, the Gorilla Wood Glue contained a mix of isothiazolinone preservatives at under 15 parts per million (15ppm), and their newly launched products — Gorilla Kids School Glue and Gorilla Kids Disappearing Purple Glue Sticks — both “may contain isothiazolinone preservatives”.
All other Gorilla Glues for sale throughout the US and Europe — including their Glue Original, Glue Clear, Contact Adhesive Clear, and their Super Glues — are therefore safe.
Gorilla Glues are widely available, including on Amazon worldwide.
Eclectic Products (Shoe Goo / E6000)
They told me this: “Neither E6000 nor Shoe GOO adhesives contain isothiazolinone preservatives such as MIT, BIT or CIT. This statement does not apply to our E6000 spray adhesive.”
The E6000 is multi-purpose, and said to be ‘the jeweller’s choice’. You can get it widely, including in Walmart in the US and on Amazon sites worldwide, making sure you stick to the standard all-purpose adhesive and not the spray.
Widely available too is the Shoe Goo — which is suitable for canvas, leather, rubber and vinyl.
Brian Clegg Adhesives (UK)
This brand offers glue sticks and a range of PVA glues.
The Blue and Clear Label PVA glues, plus the glue sticks, use phenoxyethanol as a preservative and do not contain isothiazolinone preservatives.
The Red and Black Label PVA glues do contain isothiazolinone preservatives — but, they are being reformulated this year.
See the range here. There is a selection of the Blue Label on Amazon UK.
Onyx & Green (Worldwide)
NB. March 2020: (See Comments. Reader Amanda has found that the liquid glue does contain isothiazolinones, despite the brand reassuring me that it didn’t. I have contacted them and will update ASAP)
Canadian company offering both glue sticks and a liquid glue which they’ve told me are safe.
The liquid glue is preserved with sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate and methylparaben. The last of these is a parabens preservative, which some avoid due to health concerns of uncertain veracity, but from an allergy perspective are known to be one of the safest.
In North America, the glue stick is available in a duo-pack from Amazon US and through Amazon Canada. And the liquid glue I can only find at EarthHero.com.
In the UK, the Liquid Glue is available from Ethical Superstore.
I’m struggling to find other stockists, but will add them when I do. The Onyx & Green website is poor, with little information, and their customer services representative has been a little unhelpful so far with regard to availability.
This is an Austrian brand of glues, which appear to be stocked worldwide, but availability seems a bit ad hoc and unpredictable. Kores told me that its glue sticks are preserved with phenoxyethanol and not isothiazolinones, so if you spot them, they should be safe. More generally, it added: “We do not have these preservatives in our glues, because they may cause allergies”, so it looks like even their liquid glues are safe, though they have not told me which preservatives are used in these.
The website and their selection of adhesives can be found here.
Unusually, these natural glues from Germany declare their ingredients, and look to be isothiazolinone-free, using instead preservatives such as potassium sorbate, benzoic acid and phenoxyethanol. I’m awaiting confirmation from the brand that they are definitely safe, but am confident, given their transparency. They look to be formaldehyde free too.
Find them online here.
In the UK, they are stocked by Conscious Craft.
A Note on SuperGlues …
In theory, all “Super Glue” products by all brands should be safely MI-free. Cyanoacrylate glues affix in the presence of moisture — even the tiniest quantities from atmospheric humidity being sufficient — therefore formulations have to be water-free, and so have no requirement for preservation. The cyanoacrylates in super glues can be contact allergens themselves, which is another reason to avoid any skin contact with them, including the one which may take you to Accident & Emergency …
Crafter’s Pick and Artidee glues use isothiazolinones, they told us.
KrazyGlueExpert gave us a particularly uncooperative response, explaining that they may not be able to answer whether products were safe. I followed up with them by email with further specific questions, was told again that my questions may not be answered, but was asked to complete an information request form. Having already asked the straightforward questions about isothiazolinone content twice, I declined to re-submit questions a third time. Unhelpful and tiresome.
The following were approached by either social media, email or through an online form on their websites and have not yet responded: Cra-Z-Art, Colorations, Bostik, Tesa, Henkel / Pritt / Loctite.
Elmer’s Glues are yet to respond too, but some of their glues do contain MI / MCI, and this appears to be declared on labels, at least in the UK (declared as “CMIT/MIT”).
Hi! I just went on the website you have linked to buy the onyx and green liquid glue. They have ingredients listed and one of them is 5-chloro-4 methyl isothiazoline. Ugghhhhhh. Off the safe list:(
Oh no! That’s so frustrating. Thank you for alerting me to this. I will contact them at once. They assured me it was safe.
Thank you! The site was Earthhero that I found the ingredients list. I can’t find an ingredients list for the glue sticks which I purchased from amazon. I’m assuming they are a no so returning tomorrow:(
The glue sticks are I imagine OK as they’re solid, but I can’t guarantee it. I’m in touch with the distributor and they have told me they are checking with head office in China. I’ll let you know as soon as I hear more. Thanks again.
Hi everyone! Does anyone know of a wallpaper paste that is safe to use? I’ve just sold my flat cause I painted it in October and I’m still reacting!!! I’ve managed to source the one paint we can use (Auro) snd they are super helpful but it’s only available in white or an egg shell paint in 4 colours which aren’t to my taste so I’m hoping wall paper might be the way forward. Thanks so much for the website and everyone stay safe from coronavirus xxxx
Tricky one. Let me post on our Facebook page and see if anyone comes to help. But which country are you in?
Sorry I’ve just seen your reply! I’m in Scotland. I painted my new flat with Auro but there is a wall with water marks so it needs paper as their paint doesn’t cover it.
And I’ve only just seen yours! Are you on Facebook? The page is mifree, if so. If you post your request there, I can share it.
I have a question! I just discovered I have a MI allergy…after a month of hell we seem to have figured it out. I painted a desk a month ago so I’m sure that triggered it. My question is… is dry paint safe? I need this desk as I work from home and would hate to get rid of it!
Sorry – I’d missed your comment Amelia. Do you mean powder paint? Ie paint you mix yourself by adding water? Yes, usually, it is MI free.
I have tested positive for isothiazolinone from a patch test. Most of my problems are on my hands. I’ve read iso… or its derivatives is used in the leather curing process. I use leather glove routinely.
Has anybody read or heard of a method to remove the iso… from the leather?
Hi Jeff, sorry for the delay. I imagine ‘airing’ the gloves is the only way to reduce isothiazolinone content, which will eventually vaporise, though it can take months in the case of paint from walls. There are other allergens associated with leather though, such as chromium. Did you get diagnosed with any metal allergies too? Best wishes, Alex.
Patch test confirmed only one hing I was allergic to. That was isothiazolinone.
Makes sense ecause when my hands became a problem was after I retired and was wearing gloves daily in the garden and working on 5 acres.
In regarding isothiazolinone vaporizing from leather. Is that a theory or is there some literature on that subject I can study.
Just my theory. No literature that I know of, sorry.
Hello, does anyone know any good flooring options? Apparently carpet often has isothiazolinones in it – I don’t know if that means people could transfer it from one part of the house to another on their feet? Or maybe it’s impregnated and not transferable? I’ve been looking at low voc flooring. I saw Forbo marmoleum mentioned as a nontoxic flooring option but I think the adhesive contains isothiazolinones. I had some quite scary reactions a few years ago so I’m very careful now. I don’t know if there’s been a thread about reactions yet (couldn’t find one) It would be interesting to know as I started off with quite common reactions (skin burning etc) but then started to have more severe reactions possibly neurological? eg cyclical almost pins and needles type sensations in skin all over body. Then the last time I stayed in a hotel, several years ago 🙁 , I woke up and one side of my head felt numb. The allergy also affected the muscles or nerves in my face so one side dropped sometimes. All of this improved when I started to strictly avoid isothiazolinones and other toxins as much as I could. Just wondering if anyone else has had unusual reactions?
Funnily enough this subject has just come up on our Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/mifree/posts/3129886397287633
I have a consignment store and am in the process of expanding. I had the carpeting cleaned a few weeks ago and my allergy (dermatitis) reared its ugly head after 2+ years of freedom. I immediately thought it was the cleaner they used and had them come back and rinse/vac the whole thing again.
Well, it doesn’t appear to have changed things. I am having a hard time being in my own store.
Now I read above that the carpet itself could contain MI. Is that really possible? It’s a preservative – why would it be in carpeting? It would explain, however why this did not happen when the carpet cleaning in the old part of the store did not bother me. This is a different carpeting from old. I also pulled up carpeting in one room and the adhesive is exposed. Is that a possible culprit as well?
Adhesive (glue) can definitely contain isothiazolinone preservatives, so it’s theoretically possible. I imagine carpets may be treated with certain chemicals to protect against mould and other potential risks, and that may indeed involve MI and related compounds. It’s unfortunate this has happened. A carpet wash and heat / drying / airing may help.