What is iodopropynyl butylcarbamate and where is it found?
Iodopropynyl butylcarbamate (IPBC) is a water-based preservative agent that comes from the carbamate chemical family. It has been used for years as a preservative in water-based paints, metal-working fluids and as a wood preservative. More recently it has been used as a preservative in cosmetics products, where it is found to be effective against a wide variety of microorganisms.

Is iodopropynyl butylcarbamate safe to use?
Although iodopropynyl butylcarbamate has claimed to be safe when used at concentrations less than 0.1%, its widespread use in cosmetic products has led to an increased number of cases of iodopropynyl butylcarbamate-induced contact allergy. In addition, there are concerns that it is acutely toxic by inhalation and therefore should not be used in aerosolized or inhaled products.
Countries around the world have in place regulatory standards that define the concentrations, limitations and requirements for the use of preservatives in cosmetic products. For example, in New Zealand the cosmetic standards state that iodopropynyl butylcarbamate is not to be used in oral hygiene and lip care products; not to be used in preparations for children under 3 years, except below certain levels in bath products/shower gels and shampoos; and not to be used in body lotion and body cream (concerns because application is on a large part of the body).

What are the reactions to iodopropynyl butylcarbamate allergy?
Typical allergic contact dermatitis may occur. It may take several days after exposure to the allergen for symptoms to appear. Typical symptoms include redness, swelling, itching, and fluid-filled blisters. Patients commonly present with a scattered generalized dermatitis or dermatitis affecting hands and arms. Another concern of iodopropynyl butylcarbamate is that it may have adverse effects on the immune system. It is also suspected to be an environmental toxin. Further research into these areas is necessary.