I’ll spare you the suspense. This year’s contact allergen of the year is the acrylates. Yes, you probably do use acrylates. Have artifical nails? Had dental work? A joint replacement? Plexiglas? That’s why the acrylates were chosen this year.
“We chose them because acrylates are everywhere in the environment,” said Dr. Donald V. Belsito, who announced this year’s winner at the annual meeting of the American Contact Dermatitis Society. Acrylates are plastic materials that are formed by the polymerization of monomers derived from acrylic or methacrylic acid. While monomers are very strong irritants and allergens, fully polymerized acrylates are relatively inert.
However, “patch testing is tricky, and I think that’s something that we’re just finding out about the acrylates,” said Dr. Belsito, a professor of clinical dermatology at Columbia University in New York. “They’re very volatile. The stability of the [patch test] allergens is a major issue, and they should be frozen or refrigerated.”
—Kerri Wachter (on twitter @knwachter)