Nickel release from inexpensive jewelry and hair clasps purchased in an EU country - Are consumers sufficiently protected from nickel exposure?

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BACKGROUND: Nickel allergic subjects are at risk factor of acquiring hand eczema. In 1990 and 1994, respectively, Denmark and member states in the EU regulated nickel release from selected consumer products. The intention was that the nickel epidemic could be controlled and prevented if the general population was protected from high cutaneous nickel concentrations. Despite a decrease, the prevalence of nickel allergy remains high as nearly 10% of young women are nickel allergic. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to perform dimethylglyoxime (DMG) testing of inexpensive jewelry and hair clasps purchased from random stores in Copenhagen, Denmark to detect the proportion of items that may result in nickel allergy. METHODS: Inexpensive jewelry and hair clasps were purchased from 36 stores and street vendors in Copenhagen and were later tested for nickel release using the DMG test. RESULTS: The study showed that 19.3% hair clasps, 14.8% earrings, and 12.9% necklaces intended for adult women released an excessive amount of nickel. Of 25 stores visited, 36.0% sold DMG positive jewelry. For items designed for children, excessive nickel release was identified in hair clasps (79.4%) and in finger rings (20%). Four (50.0%) of 8 children clothing stores sold jewelry that released too much nickel. DISCUSSION: Excessive nickel release has been regulated since 1990 in Denmark. However, 1/5 of purchased items released nickel in concentrations that may lead to nickel allergy. Especially hair clasps intended for children released an excessive amount of nickel.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number20
Pages (from-to)5315-8
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Keywords: Adolescent; Adult; Child; Child, Preschool; Consumer Product Safety; Denmark; Dermatitis, Allergic Contact; Environmental Exposure; Environmental Monitoring; Humans; Jewelry; Nickel; Oximes; Risk Assessment; Scalp Dermatoses

ID: 18789293