MI: partial ban in EU from February 2017

If you recall the last time we reported on EU legislation regarding methylisothiazolinone (MI) (and methylchloroisothiazolinone – MCI) preservatives in cosmetics, earlier this year, we noted that the MI/MCI mix of preservation would be banned from leave-on cosmetics from 16th April 2016 – a ban which is now effective – and that a ban on MI’s use on its own in leave-on cosmetics would be forthcoming in the future.

That future has now been decided – and the date is the 12th February 2017: the date from which no cosmetic leave-on product (including ‘wet wipes’) can “be placed or made available on the Union market” if it contains methylisothiazolinone.

eurlex-logoThe full amendment to Annex V of the Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council on cosmetic products was published just days ago on Friday 22nd July, as Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/1198, and clearly explains what has happened, what is happening, and what will happen. In summary:

  • MI has been permitted in concentrations of 0.01% / 100ppm (parts per million);
  • No safe levels of MI in leave-on products, either to avoid inducing an allergy, or inciting an allergic reaction in those already MI-allergic, can be relied upon, given the reviews of the clinical data undertaken;
  • MI should therefore be banned in leave-on products and wet wipes;
  • A period of transition is necessary to allow manufacturers to change formulations / withdraw products, with a deadline of 12th February 2017 to comply;
  • As can be seen from the Annex amendment, MI will still be permitted in rinse-off products (eg shower gels, shampoos) at 0.01% concentration.

Great news, I’m sure you’ll agree. But what next?

It’s possible that the next change in legislation will be to lower the permitted concentration of MI in rinse-off products, to a level where sensitisation can no longer take place (0.0015% has been discussed). Anyone who has been following cosmetic regulation changes for some years knows that the timeframes involved are typically years not months, quite often, so once again, we’ll have to wait and see what the lawmakers and industry bodies come up with.

As advocates for MI allergy awareness, I guess all we can do is continue to highlight the issues. Here are 10 actionable ideas you may like to try.


  1. Helga Marie Lea Martin

    Have had patch test – no allergi to MI, MCI…etc. My problem is vapours.Say friends kitchen, she is washing up with Fairy – public bathrooms where people are washing hands in hot water and soap – perfume section in airports, chemists – entering a bathroom after someone had a shower, spa’s, gyms, pools, soap spilled in shops, scented candles.Nearly all public places is a problem. Symptoms….blisters in and around nose, eyes, and mouth eczema under eyelids.Also experience mental sluggishness and reactive asthma. Consultant I went to said 40% OF SUBJECTS SHOW REACTION TO MI. Life has become very difficult

    1. MI Free (Post author)

      This sounds like it could be a reaction to certain fragrances. I know patch tests include some fragrance mixes (I think usually they are fragrance mix I and II – which sometimes vary slightly), but it’s possible that you react to others, that patch testing might have missed. Unless, of course, you react only to airborne exposure. It’s really worth persisting with your doctor, to see whether he or she can send you for further tests. So sorry you’re suffering like this. Good luck, Alex.

  2. Pingback: MI: tighter restrictions for rinse-off products in EU | Methylisothiazolinone Free

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