What's Methylisothiazolione? And why we won't use it.

One of the most common questions we get in our store is, "Why don't you carry XXX laundry detergent like the other zero waste stores?" The answer, our ingredient selection criteria. 

At The Conscious Merchant, we take a two-pronged approach to eco-living by looking at both ingredient selection and zero waste efforts. Many bulk laundry detergents contain a preservative called "methylisothiazolinone", commonly used in personal care and cleaning products, to extend shelf-life and protect against bacterial growth. 

Unfortunately, it has been found to be a common allergen that can cause contact dermatitis. In fact, it was the American Contact Dermatitis Society  “allergen of the year” in 2013. Methylisothiazolinone has been banned by both the EU and Canadian government for use in leave-on cosmetics and limited to a very low dose in wash off cosmetics (<100 ppm). 

So what about use in cleaning products? North American cleaning product regulations are so minimal that there are currently no thresholds for use of this chemical, and, while many brands are using less than 100 ppm, individuals with high sensitivity may still experience skin irritation. 

In additional to allergen concerns, the EPA has determined methylisothiazolinone to be highly toxic to freshwater and marine organisms, although persistence in the environment may still need further review. 

While protecting our customers against bacteria and extending the shelf life is incredibly important,  we have decided against carrying laundry products with methylisothiazolinone to make it easier for individuals with sensitives to shop. That is why we carry powder alternatives that do not require synthetic preservatives. These include Meliora and Humble Suds, and we carry liquid products with alternative preservatives such as Charlie's Soap, Common Good and Attitude Living. 

Transparency is key to us, so you can always see the ingredients in our products by visiting our Transparency page. If you have more questions, please never hesitate to message us here or e-mail hello@theconsciousmerchant.com