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To the Editor.—
Though aware that aminobenzoic acid (p-aminobenzoic acid, PABA) was a member of the famous family of allergenic aromatic amines, Willis and myself prophesied that its use as a sunscreen would entail only a slight risk of contact sensitization. This forecast was based on two observations: (a) none of 25 subjects became sensitized to 20% aminobenzoic acid in petrolatum by the maximization test, a stringent procedure which has proved highly reliable in appraising sensitizing capability of drugs; (b) in several years of extensive testing we did not once encounter a case of contact sensitization.Based on our work and that of Fitzpatrick et al, at least two hydroalcoholic solutions of aminobenzoic acid have been marketed. We recently encountered a proved case of contact sensitization to one of these products and have heard from various colleagues of similar experiences. One of the manufacturers has indicated that
Kligman AM. Allergenic Aromatic Amines. Arch Dermatol. 1972;105(3):459-460. doi:10.1001/archderm.1972.01620060089024