The substance Methylisothiazolinone (MI), found in a wide range of products from paint to shampoo, is the root cause of a veritable allergy epidemic in Denmark, Metroxpress reports.
Jeanne Duus Johansen, the head of the allergy knowledge centre at the skin and allergy department of Gentofte Hospital, told the paper that the problem is widespread and growing.
“It’s an acute problem. The number of allergy sufferers is increasing faster than we’ve ever seen,” she said.
“We can see that the same is happening across the whole of Europe right now.”
The allergy centre annually screens 6,000 allergy patients, and the number of sufferers allergic to MI has jumped from 4.5 percent in 2014 to 6 percent in 2015 so far. This equates to 1,000 new sufferers nationwide.
Ban would need to come from EU
Metroxpress reports that the consumer rights organisation Forbrugerrådet and the environmental protection agency Miljøstyrelsen want to ban MI, but that such a move would require action at the EU level.
Klaus Ejner Andersen, a professor in allergies at Odense University, explained that an MI allergy can lead to serious and long-lasting skin problems. “It’s an eczema that gives large red itchy rashes. It’s often on the face and on the hands,” he said.
“The problem is that it is found in industrial products, for example paint, so just going into a newly painted room puts you at risk of having an allergic reaction.”