ASK THE ALLERGISTA: PG Cross-contamination / Transfer


I am definitely allergic to propylene glycol and also tested positive for nickel and gold. I am not, however, reacting obviously to the metals although I do try to protect myself by avoiding them as much as possible. I have, unfortunately, been reacting constantly to PG for 16 mos. I have removed it from my food and home, but am having great difficulty with the outside world because of cross-contamination and transfer. I am just now starting to wear cotton gloves to work (a school setting with lots of hand sanitizer, wipes and cleaning solutions), the grocery story and doctors' offices. My questions are: 1)My initial site of PG exposure is in a sensitive area (the vulva). Is it possible that without continual contamination, my skin will become less vulnerable to reaction in time? 2) I have been on strong steroid ointments for almost a year and feel desperate about getting off them. How likely is it that some of my reactions could be associated with nickel or gold instead of PG? Do you think social interactions of handshakes, hugs and kisses from others is a primary source of transfer of PG? Thank you!



Hello, there! I'm allergic to 2/3 of those items - nickel and propylene glycol. Although, I do react to gold as well... not because it's gold, but because nickel is usually added to gold to make it harder. As far as your questions go, my answer to #1: Part of the thinking behind allergies is that if you're over exposed to a substance, your body ends up developing a negative reaction to said substance. I have read that by eliminating your allergen and slowly reintroducing it... your body slowly builds up a tolerance. This hasn't been the case for me, unfortunately, but everybody is different.

As for #2: I applaud you for wanting to get off topical steroids. I have some (Desoximetasone) that I keep in my purse just in case I can't get my skin to stop reacting, but I use it very sparingly. Your skin can become addicted to it, which is no good.

If you tested positive for gold and nickel allergy, it's definitely just as possible that your reaction is so nickel or gold. I would guess nickel as it's in so many different types of everyday items from door handles to eyelash curlers... oh and keys - keys are fuuuuull of nickel. Transference can happen with anything - even nickel. I actually wrote a whole post on nickel transference after figuring out that what my friend was suffering from. It can happen with propylene glycol and it can happen with nickel as well. Once I became more conscious of what I was touching, my skin improved greatly. I definitely suggest buying this nickel testing kit and if your nickel allergy is severe... use something like a bandanna to open doors in public. It helps my day to day SO much. My palms would be forever itchy if I didn't use the bandannas.

My best of wishes go out to you in this new journey. I hope you find some relief soon!


The Allergista




Fireball Whisky Recalled For Excessive Propylene Glycol

If you haven’t tried it yet, just imagine what it feels like to stand face-to-face with a fire-breathing dragon who just ate a whisky barrel full of spicy cinnamon. Live it, love it, shoot it – what happens next is up to you.

Yup.. but not if you are allergic to propylene glycol like me and a zillion other people!

This story has been blowing up ever since my hunny noticed it being reported by Fox News.

Fireball Whisky has been gaining a lot of popularity lately for the spicy punch it packs. Whisky isn't my thing and neither is putting a fireball in my mouth, so I hadn't even heard of it.

Here's the deal with the latest news about them: Fireball Whisky has a recipe for the United States and one for Europe. Some of the U.S. whiskey got sent over to Europe (Finland, Sweden and Norway) and once Europe noticed the high level of propylene glycol, they pulled it from their shelves. Fireball Whiskey's PR person called it "regarding a small recipe-related compliance issue".

I read a bunch of the reports online and found this great excerpt:

Propylene glycol can have toxic effects in some circumstances, including for people suffering with pre-existing skin or eye conditions, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry. In recent years, the substance has been used as a less-toxic alternative to ethylene glycol in antifreeze, which was killing pets who lapped up the sweet-tasting engine fluid. But the Humane Society warns that propylene glycol is “still toxic.”
— Huffington Post

Crazy, right? But, it's nothing any of us with the allergy haven't heard before (unless you're new to the game like I was in 2009).

And then there's this little chunk of info straight from the press release issued on behalf of Fireball Whiskey in regard to this issue:

The ingredient in question was propylene glycol (PG). PG is a regularly used and perfectly safe flavoring ingredient. PG has been used in more than 4,000 food, beverage, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products for more than 50 years. Most people consume PG every day in soft drinks, sweeteners, some foods or alcoholic beverages.
— Amy Preske, Public Relations & Events Manager, Sazerac Company

Are you confused yet? A little scared, maybe?

Propylene has been known to be toxic... however some people say it's ok. I guess it all depends on what your definition of "ok" is. Does it mean...

  • cancer
  • allergies
  • reproductive
  • developmental
  • neurotoxicity
  • endocrine

No? Ah. Well... propylene glycol has been linked to those issues. I did a post about the toxicity of PG which you can read here. Definitely check that out. 

Fireball Whiskey has a pretty good PR/ media team because they've jumped on it already. When I went to visit their site, I was hit with this:

When you click on the link at the end, you're presented with their press release:

For Immediate Release

Fireball Dispels Internet Rumors

Quashes rumors about the North American market and product safety

NEW ORLEANS, LA. (Oct 28, 2014) – Fireball Cinnamon Whisky assures its consumers that the product is perfectly safe to drink. There is no recall in North America. Fireball fans can continue to enjoy their favorite product as they always have.

Late last week Sazerac, the makers of Fireball, was contacted by its European bottler regarding a small recipe-related compliance issue in Finland.

Regulations for product formulation are different in Europe, which explains why recipes for products like soft drinks, alcohol/spirits and even candies and confections are slightly different than their North American counterparts. Fireball, therefore, has a slightly different recipe for

Unfortunately, Fireball shipped its North American formula to Europe and found that one ingredient is out of compliance with European regulations. Finland, Sweden and Norway have asked to recall those specific batches, which is what the brand is doing. Fireball anticipates
being back on the shelves for fans in these countries within three weeks.

The ingredient in question was propylene glycol (PG). PG is a regularly used and perfectly safe flavoring ingredient. PG has been used in more than 4,000 food, beverage, pharmaceutical and

cosmetic products for more than 50 years. Most people consume PG every day in soft drinks, sweeteners, some foods or alcoholic beverages.

The ingredient is “generally recognized as safe (GRAS)” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration up to 50 grams per KG. In Canada, its use is limited to “good manufacturing
practice” with no defined numerical limit. It is used in the Fireball flavor in very small quantities, less than 1/8th of the amount allowed by US FDA regulations.

All Fireball formulas are absolutely safe to drink and the use of PG in Fireball creates no health risk whatsoever. There is no recall in North America. Fireball fans can continue to enjoy their favorite product as they always have.

About The Sazerac Company
Sazerac is one of New Orleans’ oldest family owned, privately held companies and has operations in New Orleans, Louisiana; Frankfort, Bardstown, Louisville and Owensboro, Kentucky; Fredericksburg, Virginia; Carson, California; Baltimore, Maryland; Lewiston, Maine; Londonderry, New Hampshire; and Montreal, Canada. For more information, please visit

Amy Preske
Public Relations & Events Manager
Sazerac Company
— Amy Preske, Public Relations & Events Manager, Sazerac Company


So, what do you think? I know I wish we had tighter regulations over here! Europe does... WHY NOT US?




At 6mths of age, I’ve been suffering from atopic excema and multiple allergies, multi-factoral-triggered asthma, etc.

In the past, I’ve had the ‘scratch test’ and reacted to 99/100 of the items. I just completed the ‘patch test’ and I’m also allergic to all synthetic fragrances and propylene glycol. I’ve noticed that, through trial and error, that i’m allergic to other glycols as well.

Although incredibly frustrating, I’ve simplified my cosmetics and cleaning products significantly. I’ve also started making my own deodorant and lip glosses. I’m so proud of being able to make these products, and have even started making them myself!

None of my doctors have had a patient with my allergies, so it gives me some relief that i’m not the only one out there!

Thanks for your blog

You are so very welcome :-) We are here for ya! I've thought about making lipgloss before, but never deodorant - how awesome that you made a deodorant you like! That can be a tricky feat. Don't let that spirit die - it will make dealing with your allergies and eczema so much easier!


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Blogging Can Be Frustrating... Really Freaking Frustrating.

I’ve been holding it in and holding it and I JUST CAN’T HOLD IT IN ANYMORE! I am SO almost beyond frustrated that I have to just get it out.

For those of you who follow on a regular basis, you know there have been some design changes happening on the blog and that I switched over from Wordpress to Squarespace. I made this move because Squarespace offers a couple things off the bat that the normal Wordpress site does not – it allows advertising and has a nice built-in store.

Once I decided to make the move, I was SO excited! And nervous… but mostly excited. Everything has gone according to plan except for 3 things:

  • I mysteriously have an alternate URL for my blog. I say mysterious bc it makes no sense to me at all, but I’m told this is the case for everybody on Squarespace.

This poses a lot of problems for me… imagine if you had a storefront on the street and it was listed with 2 different addresses? It would be a horrible mess! People are finding my blog through this alternate URL and therefore thinking said URL is actually my URL. This means they refer to pages with the wrong URL when they’re talking to me sharing pages with the wrong URL. It’s anything but ideal.

  • My views have decreased by at least a third… it’s between a third and a half.

This is a giant problem when part of my plan was to take on advertising… You need a good number of views for anybody to care about advertising their business on your website. Obviously, this result of less views is kinda making my move to the new platform rather pointless. The whole idea of a blog is usually for people to READ IT.

  • All of my photo galleries are gone. Since that’s what I used on every single Fashion Friday post… this is no Bueno. Nobody cares or wants invisible fashion (unless you’re a nudist). I was told there’s a fix to this, but it seems cumbersome and I’m reluctant to put in the work at this point because I don’t know if I’m going to have to go back to Wordpress or not.

It’s been almost a month and I read online that it can take 4-6 weeks for Google to take this alternate URL down. Of course, this isn’t what Google said since they don’t provide a timeline. I read something somebody wrote online about the process instead.

So… here I am… trying to take this website to the next level and I have this MAJOR thing standing in the way with the URL.

And here’s my thought on this: Since EVERYBODY on Squarespace has an alternate URL… that means everybody is having the same problem as me… And honestly, it’s a lonely and scary process. Don’t you think Squarespace would have come up with a way to fix this issue.

This is the case with any new business, though… There are always unforeseen setbacks and complications… and of course you can’t predict them.

I’ll be hanging in there for another month and if there isn’t a change… I’m going to go back to Wordpress and deal with the huge pain of incorporating ads and a store... they don’t make it easy! However… I’m starting to wonder if Squarespace makes it any easier!

To be continued…


FASHION FRIDAY: Cotton A-Line Daytime Look

When you're restricted to 100% cotton, whether it's because of allergies or eczema, it can be hard to piece items together just by paroozing through the stores. There's often a limited selection, making it hard to form an outfit. BUT! If you focus on a certain look, you can go online, do a little bit of searching and replicate the look to the best of your ability.

This is one that I love, worn by Victoria Beckham:

She's wearing a textured navy a-line skirt, a black 3/4 sleeve boat necked shirt and some beige pumps. I ended up finding an outfit with the colors reversed, but it still works:

Click the photos to visit the product links