The Swedish Chemicals Agency logo
The Swedish Chemicals Agency logo

Statistics in brief - Allergenic substances

Certain chemical products reported by the companies to the Swedish Chemicals Agency's Products Register contain allergenic substances. Of the about 14,000 chemical products that were used by Swedish households in 2010, some 3,800 contained some allergenic substance.

The presence of an allergenic substance does not necessarily mean that the whole preparation is classified as allergenic. Allergenic substances occur also in other kinds of products that are not reported to the Products Register, e.g. building material, food and cosmetics.

Consumer-available chemical products that contain allergenic substances

Graph, Chemical products that often contain allergenic substances (per cent).

Source: Products Register, Swedish Chemicals Agency 2008.

The chart shows types of consumer-available chemical products where many preparations contain allergenic substances. Many paints contain allergenic substances that are included to prevent formation of skin on the paint. Additives are used in water-based paint to prevent the paint from moulding in the tin and sometimes also as a wood preservative of the coated surface.

Allergenic preservatives can also be found in liquid detergents and cleaning products. Adhesives, sealants and jointing material can contain epoxy compounds that can cause allergy. Hydroquinone that is strongly allergenic is used in photo chemicals.

Most common allergenic substances in consumer available products

CAS no.NameNumber of productsQuantity, tonnes
2634-33-5 1,2-Benzisotiazol-3(2H)-one 1 158 34
55965-84-9 5-chloro-2-methyl-3(2H)-Isothiazolone mixture with 2-methyl-3(2H)-isothiazolone 1 068 2
96-29-7 Methyl ethyl ketoxime 560 34
80-62-6 Methyl methacrylate 431 6
141-32-2 Butyl acrylate 384 3
50-00-0 Formaldehyde 378 18
26530-20-1 2-Octyl-3(2H)-isothiazolone 260 9
9014-01-1 Subtilisin 237 139
9000-90-2 alpha-Amylase 188 98
5989-27-5 d-Limonene 165 3
731-27-1 Tolylfluanide 161 29
25068-38-6 Bisphenol A-epichlorohydrin polymer 146 195

Source: Products Register, Swedish Chemicals Agency 2010.

1,2-Benzisothiazol-3(2H)-one is the most common allergenic substance in consumer-available chemical products.

Isotiazolines and tolyl fluanide are used as preservatives in e.g. adhesives, jointing material and water-based paints.

The substances 3(2H)-isothiazolone, 5-chloro-2-methyl- and 2-methyl-3(2H)-isothiazolone are not classified as allergenic. Only the mixture is classified.

Methyl ethyl ketoxime is used to prevent skin formation on the paint in the tin.

Formaldehyde is used as a disinfectant but can also be found in adhesives, putty and sealants.

The acrylates are low concentration remains from the production of polyacrylates used as binders in paints and adhesives.

Subtilisin and amylase are enzymes and are mostly used in cleaning agents.

The sensitising Bisphenol A-epichlorohydrin polymer is used to form the resin in epoxy products.

Percentage of all consumer-available chemical products that contain allergenic substances

Graph, Percentage of all consumer-available chemical products that contain allergenic substances.

Source: Products Register, Swedish Chemicals Agency.

Of the about 14,000 chemical products that are used by Swedish households, about 3,800 contain some allergenic substance. The presence of an allergenic substance does not necessarily mean that the whole preparation is classified as allergenic.

The quantity of allergenic substances in consumer-available chemical products was 89 grams per person in 2010 according to the Products Register. By comparison, 4,900 grams of detergents and 11,000 grams of water-based paints were used per person the same year.