1. Is it possible to have undiagnosed asthma if you have confirmed allergies and some family history and 2. Do you think that I could be allergic to bitrex?


I left school and went to work as a Pharmacology Laboratory Technician for over 2O years. I started work in 1987 when processes and procedures were not as good in this area as they are nowadays. My mother and brother are both asthmatics and I knew that I suffered from "hay fever" in the summer with runny eyes and sneezing. (Though I don't seem to have hay fever nowadays!).

I have never been diagnosed with asthma, but after some time working (I really can't remember when this would have been now), I began to suspect that I was becoming allergic to animals at my work and via my GP, it was confirmed with skin prick tests that I was allergic to almost, if not all the animal species that I came into contact with. I was able to manage this reasonably well with various control measures (batter powered full face hood, nitrile gloves, annual lung function tests etc.) and as processes improved over the years, I didn't suffer too much because of it. I changed jobs four years ago and am now mainly office based.

However, recently I experienced what I consider to be a delayed hypersensitive allergic/irritant skin reaction (urticaria) approximately 48hrs after a training session to be a qualitative face-fit tester.

I believe that I may be one of the very few numbers of people that may be hypersensitive to bitrex (denatonium benzoate). There is so little research in this area, but there are sporadic reports of adverse respiratory and skin reactions in primarily the healthcare sector.

Given my family history, my known allergies to animals and my known exposure to a fairly large number of substances over the years (including related bitrex-like subtances of local anesthetics such as lignocaine, xylocaine, procaine), could anyone give me their thoughts on my questions above and how I convince my OH Dept. that I think I do warrant an allergy text to this substance, to rule it in or out one way or another?

Many thanks
Occupational Asthma, Worker, 1/31/2013, 7/18/2018,

There are reported cases of allergic sensitisation to denatonium, in fact we have seen a case of occupational asthma due to denatonium in alcohol gel recently at our Occupational Lung Disease Unit in Birmingham, so it is certainly a possibility in your case. The latency between exposure and onset of urticarial rash as you describe suggests it could be allergic rather than irritant.
1/31/2013

re: question 1: allergic asthma is more likely in people with multiple known allergies and an immediate family history.
1/31/2013

Thank you so much for your very useful replies. They are very much appreciated.
2/1/2013

denatonium benzoate (Bitrex) has a high asthma prediction index suggesting that it may be a respiratory sensitiser. It is used in ethanol based hand cleaning agents to allow ethanol to be used without paying alcohol tax as its bitter (very) taste makes the ethanol undrinkable. It is a pitty that something less likely to act as a sensitiser is not used in stread. Denatonium is a low molecular weight agent and is unlikely to result in positive skin prick tests, although your description of urticaria suggests that this could be tried.
2/11/2013

Dear poster - thank you very, very much for your reply. I'm currently awaiting a reply from an allergy clinic on the best possible way to try and get tested for this (in my case) as it seems to be quite a difficult one to test for. Howevr, I feel I need to try and pursue it, not just for my own peace of mind, but also to possibly add to the very limited & confirmed data currently available on this particular substance.
2/11/2013

I had six years face fitting told never wear gloves as it may frighten customers. a year ago Moldex recalled solution we were never told why there was a recall but were made redundant, anyway my thumbs will not accept new skin grows then falls off I have pain in my thumbs and want to rip my nails off and have developed a bad habit of stroking my {or what is left of my nails back and forth} they are irritating me
12/4/2014

I know why Moldex did the recall. Took me a while and a huge amount of effort to find out what was going it - but it resulted in the recall (as well as some other changes). I was fortunate in a way to get to the bottom of this because of my background, access to certain publications and the fact I was convinced that this caused my problem etc but I got there in the end. I'm now convinced that my systemic response had nothing to do with the denatonium benzoate itself but it did have something to do with fungal contamination of the solutions used (I have all the details on this).
12/5/2014

Sir I am very interested in these results not only for my thumbs but this would explain why three of us were made redundant. Would you consider sending Anon to me or point mein the right right direction please, I promise full confidentiality
Fred Hoffman hoffman.f1@sky.com

12/5/2014

This Fungal effect
12/5/2014

Fred - I have sent you an e-mail :)
12/5/2014

Thank you very much
12/5/2014

Well my daughter works for a hospital where she is exposed to Bitrex, and has had two severe incidents and four other times to urgent care for hives breakout; has to be rushed to the ER with acute asthma and hives.
Her fellow co-workers develop itching and cough but not as bad as she has. I am looking for additional information if anyone can assist with that would prove our point. The employer waited a few weeks to conduct an Air quality test, and still waiting on results. In the meantime she is stuck with lost wages, lots of medical bills and the uncertainty of being in a room just scanning papers until the test results become available. She is also worried about her job situation because she is also a single mother. I do want to seek counsel but at the same time am trying to gather as much information as I can beforehand. She has schedule an appointment to see an allergist because obviously it is an allergic reaction. I have her documenting everything including photos and videos of how she gets and her co-workers too.
Any assistance is greatly appreciated.
my email is Erikagarcia324@gmail.com
7/18/2018

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