Patch testing second edition

In 1993, when 900 of the 1,000 books in the first edition had sold, Elsevier asked me to write a new edition. The number of new chemicals for which patch test data were included in the new book was about 900. That many new allergens had not been published in the meantime. In the context of my PhD research and dissertation (1988), my fellow dermatologists who participated in my research and I had tested a large number of patients with their cosmetics and, when there were positive reactions to such a product, with all their ingredients. These included many chemicals for which no patch test concentration and vehicle were known. These were jointly determined by Jan Willem Weijland of the Keuringsdienst van Waren (KvW) and myself, usually based on known concentrations of similar substances. The KvW would request the ingredients  from  the manufacturers  of the cosmetics and prepared materials for patch testing in 

patients allergic to cosmetics. Sometimes only one patient was tested with a specific chemical, sometimes as many as 10. If this did not lead to an irritation reaction or caused an allergic reaction, I included these substances with their concentration and vehicle in the new edition of Patch testing. It was of course stated that these were not validated data, but could serve as a starting point. In addition, I had found data from the RIFM, the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials ( This institute had tested a number of perfume raw materials with patch tests on 20 volunteers, to investigate whether they were irritating or would give rise to active sensitisation. Hundreds of perfume raw materials were investigated in this way. When the substances in question did not give any irritation reactions after 2 days in 20 volunteers, I included these substances with their concentration and vehicle (almost always petroleum jelly) in the book, stating that these concentrations did not cause irritation in patch tests and that they were probably suitable for use as such for epicutaneous allergological research.

The technique of printing had meanwhile been further developed, making the printed text, especially the font, a lot more beautiful. Also, the large table, which made up the lion's share of the content, was now positioned vertically, so that you immediately saw the correct data when you opened the book. In the first edition, the table was still too wide for the page and was therefore shown 90 degrees turned, so you had to rotate the book a quarter turn to view it properly. This edition was again very well received and widely regarded as a marked improvement over the first edition. Some book reviews can be found below. Note the humor of Richard Rycroft, with whom I have maintained regular contact ever since, even now (2022). What happened afterwards (shame on you, Elsevier!) you can read after the book reviews. 


Book reviews of the second edition of Patch testing (selection)

American Journal of Contact Dermatitis 1995;6:130

In an age of burgeoning medical publications, few are unique. However, the second edition of this book is. This book would be worth its cover price for its chemical synonyms alone. As with the first edition, the book is largely devoted to ‘Table 1’, which develops patch testing concentrations for 3,700 chemicals that are derived from the world’s textbooks and journal literature devoted to contact dermatitis. ………In addition to almost 1,000 more chemicals, the second edition of this book has a format that makes it much more accessible than the first edition. The print is clear, the binding is superb, and I found no typographical errors. De Groot must surely have the largest database of anyone interested in contact dermatitis. Few books are essential in medical practice. If you perform patch testing at all, you should own this book.



Sold out and Elsevier is silent

In 2006 I received an email from a dermatologist from South Korea. He wanted to buy a copy of Patch testing, 2nd edition, but got a message from the bookstore that the book was no longer available. I then contacted Elsevier Amsterdam. I was referred to Elsevier Oxford, as the relevant department was now located there. Emailed: no response. Called: it was not their department, and I was advised to inquire with Elsevier in London, located at The Strand. Sigh ……… Mail sent: no response. Picked up the phone again and a friendly lady with a bang of a Cockney accent (which surprised me, for an international company) explained to me that this book did not belong to their department, I should contact ……Elsevier Amsterdam. A classic example of 'from pillar to post'. 

In the end, Amsterdam sorted it out for me and it turned out that the book had indeed been sold out for some time. But apparently the number of books sold in the recent period was so small that a new edition was not considered commercially viable. They apparently did not feel compelled to inform the author.


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