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.
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 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”).