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New UK nickel-plated steel coins constitute an increased allergy and eczema risk
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Chemistry, Surface and Corrosion Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2123-2201
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2013 (English)In: Contact Dermatitis, ISSN 0105-1873, E-ISSN 1600-0536, Vol. 68, no 6, 323-330 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background. Nickel-plated steel coins have recently been introduced in the United Kingdom. Objectives. To compare the performance and allergy risk of the new nickel-plated coins (five and ten pence) with those of the cupro-nickel coins being replaced. Materials and methods. Coin handling studies with assessment of skin exposure and metal release in artificial sweat were performed. Six volunteers participated. Results. The amount of nickel deposited onto skin during the handling of nickel-plated coins for 1 hr was 7.5 mu g/cm(2), four times higher than that from cupro-nickel coins. The nickel content in the oxidized surface of nickel-plated coins was higher, explaining the higher skin dose. Initial nickel release rates were 10-27 times higher than 1-week rates, emphasizing that brief and repeated contact results in significant nickel exposure. Conclusions. Nickel-plated coins deposit higher levels of nickel onto skin than cupro-nickel coins, and hence pose an increased allergy risk. One-week release in artificial sweat is not suitable for determining the risk of handling items with high nickel release that come into short, repeated contact with the skin. The nickel skin dose is recommended for risk assessment. UK citizens are now, because of this change in coinage, unnecessarily exposed to higher levels of nickel on the skin. This is of public health concern.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 68, no 6, 323-330 p.
Keyword [en]
allergy, coins, nickel, nickel release, risk assessment, skin dose
National Category
Dermatology and Venereal Diseases
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-124283DOI: 10.1111/cod.12092ISI: 000319346100002ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84878090828OAI: diva2:634937

QC 20130702

Available from: 2013-07-02 Created: 2013-06-28 Last updated: 2013-07-02Bibliographically approved

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Herting, GunillaOdnevall Wallinder, Inger
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