Thursday, May 28, 2015

Unexplained rash? It could be MCI/MI in your baby wipes

If multiple topical and oral antibiotics and steroids aren't able to treat your child's rash, it could be a substance which contains a combination preservative designated as MCI/MI that is found in baby wipes and other household products.

Unexplained rash? It could be MCI/MI in your baby wipes

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Has your child had a severe rash that couldn't be treated with topical creams and oral antibiotics and steroids? It could be contact with a substance which contains a combination preservative designated as MCI/MI (Methychloroisothiazolinone or Methylisothiazolinone) found in some baby wipes.

An article released today from Pediatrics describes six cases of a stubborn contact dermatitis to what is generally considered to be an innocuous product – baby wipes.The wipes were not immediately suspected to be the culprit, but despite active treatment with multiple topical and oral antibiotics and steroids, the rash only resolved after discontinuation of the wipes. It turned out that these wipes had MCI/MI.

Baby wipes are generally very safe and the presence of MCI/MI in baby wipes had not previously been reported to be an extensive problem in infants. However, all the patients in the article were patch tested and were found to be positive for MCI/MI.

Besides baby wipes, MCI/MI is found in many common products around the home, including cosmetics, cleaning products, waxes and polishes, paints, skin creams, tanning products, hair care products, laundry products and personal hygiene items such as soaps and wet wipes. The rash of an allergic contact dermatitis can be red, raised and even blistery or weepy. A good example of the rash of allergic contact dermatitis is that of poison oak or poison ivy dermatitis. If your child has an unexplained contact dermatitis looking rash, then it is reasonable to think of products that may contain MCI/MI that are coming in contact with his or her skin.

It should be noted that not all baby wipes contain MCI/MI, so reading labels is important. If your child has an unexplained rash with the features described above, see your allergist or dermatologist. If it is not obvious by history what the rash is due to, your doctor may be able to do a patch test to determine the cause. If it is indeed MCI/MI, then the best way to treat this is prevention, which means avoidance of any product with these ingredients.

Here’s what to look for on a label:

  • Methychloroisothiazolinone
  • Methylisothiazolinone

The prevalence of MCI/MI contact allergy has increased significantly in recent years, so much so that the substance had the dubious distinction of being named the 2013 “Allergen of the Year” by the American
Contact Dermatitis Society (ACDS)!


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The Healthy Kids blog is your window into the latest news, research and advice around children's health. Learn more about our growing list of contributors here.

If you have questions about your child's health, ask them here.

Anna Nguyen Healthy Kids blog Editor
Sarah Levin Allen, Ph.D., CBIS Assistant Professor of Psychology at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Stephen Aronoff, M.D., M.B.A. Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Temple University Hospital
Peter Bidey, D.O. Medical Director of Family Medicine at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Christopher C. Chang, MD, PhD, MBA, FAAAAI, FACAAI Associate Professor of Medicine in division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology at UC Davis
Katherine K. Dahlsgaard, Ph.D. Lead Psychologist of The Anxiety Behaviors Clinic at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Gary A. Emmett, M.D., F.A.A.P Director of Hospital Pediatrics at TJU Hospital & Pediatrics Professor at Thomas Jefferson Univ.
Magee DeFelice, M.D. Division Chief of Allergy and Immunology at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
Hazel Guinto-Ocampo, M.D. Chief of Pediatric Emergency Services at Nemours duPont Pediatrics/Bryn Mawr Hospital
Rima Himelstein, M.D. Adolescent Medicine Specialist at Crozer-Keystone Health System
Jessica Kendorski, PhD, NCSP, BCBA-D Associate Professor in School Psychology/Applied Behavior Analysis at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Anita Kulick President & CEO, Educating Communities for Parenting
Janet Rosenzweig, MS, PhD, MPA VP for Programs & Research for Prevent Child Abuse America
Beth Wallace Smith, R.D. Registered Dietitian at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Emiliano Tatar, M.D. Pediatrician at Einstein Healthcare Network Roxborough Plaza
Jeanette Trella, Pharm.D Managing Director at The Poison Control Center at CHOP
W. Douglas Tynan, Ph.D., ABPP Director of Integrated Health Care for American Psychological Association
Flaura Koplin Winston, M.D., Ph.D. Scientific Director of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention
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