A survey of the literature does not reveal a report of allergy to aldehydes other than formaldehyde. While specific hypersensitivity to solution of formaldehyde either in a free state or as a condensation product in plastics is well recognized and not rare, only 1 such case has ever been studied experimentally. Horsfall 1 in 1934 made a thorough immunologic study of a patient specifically sensitive to formaldehyde. This patient, unlike the one concerned in this study, reacted to formaldehyde only and not to any other homologous aliphatic aldehyde. Horsfall obtained positive cutaneous reactions by the intracutaneous injection not only of formaldehyde (1:8,000,000) but also of various heterologous proteins treated with formaldehyde. A reaction was not obtained with control injections of the proteins not treated with formaldehyde. Despite these specific cutaneous reactions with formaldehyde and proteins treated with formaldehyde, passive transfer antibodies could not be demonstrated in this study.
RAPPAPORT BZ, HOFFMAN MM. URTICARIA DUE TO ALIPHATIC ALDEHYDES: A CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL STUDY. JAMA. 1941;116(24):2656–2659. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820240016005
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