Hypersensitivity Reactions to Vaccine Components

Noushin Heidary; David E. Cohen


Dermatitis. 2005;16(3):115-120. 

In This Article


Formaldehyde is nearly ubiquitous, being present in polymerized plastics, metalworking fluids, wood composites, insulation, medicaments, fabrics, cosmetics, detergents, and vaccines. Formaldehyde is the eighth most common allergen and had an 8.4% rate of reactivity in 4,909 patients who were patch-tested. In vaccines, formaldehyde is used as an inactivating agent that can eliminate the harmful effects of bacterial toxins and destroy the capacity of infectious viruses to replicate.[6] The concerns over formaldehyde in vaccines center on its potential carcinogenicity in vitro.[6] The quantity of formaldehyde in individual vaccines does not exceed 0.1 mg per dose. Animals exposed to chronic formaldehyde at doses of 80 to 100 mg per day developed no malignancies over a 2-year period.[31]

Formaldehyde in vaccines has been reported to exacerbate hand eczema, as described in a single case report.[32] However, no other cases of formaldehyde-induced cutaneous reactions from vaccine administration have been reported in the literature.


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