Why does insulin smell like Band-Aids?

I’m sure you’re at the edge of your seat waiting to hear the answer to that question. (It has bugged me for many years, especially the day I broke not one, but two, vials of insulin on my tile floor).

Just today, the subject came up again. My husband walked into the kitchen from a completely different side of the house and said, “I smell insulin.” (I had just refilled my insulin pump – without spilling a single drop, I might add). To which I responded, “Then you smell Band-Aids.”

Which is when I decided it was about time to do some internet sleuthing (AKA googling), from which I discovered that it has to do with a chemical (meta-cresol) that is used in preserving and stabilizing many brands of insulin. (My drug of choice is Novolog). Meta-cresol is also used in many medical and antiseptic products. And…you got it – Band-Aids is one of them. Voilà!

Apparently, scotch also smells like Band-Aids…but I’ll leave that one to you.


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