The fate of two isothiazolinone biocides, 5-chloro-2-methylisothiazol-3(2H)-one (CMI) and 2-methylisothiazol-3(2H)-one (MI), in liquid air fresheners and assessment of inhalation exposure

Seon Kyung Park, Jung-Hwan Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


There exist public concerns regarding the two most widely used isothiazolinones (5-chloro-2-methylisothiazol-3(2H)-one (CMI) and 2-methylisothiazol-3(2H)-one (MI)) in various consumer products because they cause allergic responses in dermatitis and are potentially harmful when inhaled. Hydrolysis and photolysis tests for CMI and MI at pH 4, 7, and 9 were performed to evaluate their stability. While MI did not degrade under the test conditions, CMI slightly degraded at pH 9 via hydrolysis and at pH 4 via photolysis. To better understand human exposure to MI and CMI during the use of consumer products, the vaporization rates of MI and CMI from two commercial air fresheners were quantified in a custom-made chamber. The evaporation of MI was almost negligible over 7 d, whereas a significant amount of CMI evaporated over the same period. Because the volume of air freshener decreases over time due to evaporation of water, the MI concentration in the product increased by a factor of 1.8-2.2. The air concentration of CMI was predicted using a ConsExpo model using a fixed weight fraction (model 1) and a new model that reflects changes in the concentrations of active ingredients and the product volume over time (model 2). The concentration determined using model 1 reached a steady-state value of 0.032 μg L-1, whereas that predicted using model 2 increased consistently. Inhalation exposure was also assessed using two exposure scenarios: a room and a car. Both calculated values of margin of exposure were much higher than 300, indicating a negligible inhalation risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2270-2276
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Feb 1



  • Consumer products
  • Evaporation
  • Isothiazolinones
  • Mass transfer
  • Risk assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)

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