Routine Diagnostic Patch-testing with Formaldehyde 2.0% (0.6mg/cm2) may be an Advantage Compared to 1.0%
Inese Hauksson, Ann Pontén, Birgitta Gruvberger, Marléne Isaksson, Magnus Bruze
Our clinical experience has suggested that the presently recommended patch-test concentration (1.0%) for formaldehyde in the baseline series might be too low. Therefore, consecutively patch-tested dermatitis patients were tested simultaneously with formaldehyde 1.0% and 2.0% (w/v) in aqua. Formaldehyde 1.0% and 2.0% were applied with a micro-pipette (15 µl) to filter paper discs in Finn Chambers (0.30 mg/cm² and 0.60 mg/cm², respectively). A total of 1397 patients with dermatitis were patch-tested. In all, 68 (4.9%) patients reacted positively to formaldehyde; 37 reacted only to 2.0%, 29 reacted to both concentrations, and 2 reacted only to 1.0%. Significantly more patients were thus diagnosed with contact allergy to formaldehyde 2.0% compared with 1.0% (p < 0.001). We detected 0.1%, 0.4%, and 29.6% irritant reactions to 1.0%, 2.0%, and 3.0% formaldehyde, respectively. We conclude that, with an optimized patch-test technique, doubling the dose per area detects significantly more contact allergies to formaldehyde, but an even higher test concentration causes too many irritant reactions to be usable.