Allergic contact dermatitis due to chromium, cobalt release from metallic ear rings
Chromium and cobalt are important skin sensitizers. It has, however, been difficult to identify causative exposures.
Studies on nickel allergy have demonstrated piercing as critical for both sensitization and elicitation. Nickel is the most common cause of contact allergy in the general population and among patients with dermatitis. The initial outbreak of consumer nickel allergy and dermatitis was caused by stocking suspenders (in the 1950s and 1960s), followed by buttons, rivets and zippers in blue jeans (1970s), and finally by ear-piercings and jewellery (1980s). It may be speculated that the same applies for chromium and cobalt.
Earrings for piercing release chromium and cobalt and may on a case basis be a source of chromium and cobalt allergy, details a report recently published in the Dermatology.
Researchers, M Wennervaldt and colleagues carried out the present study to examine the content and release of chromium and cobalt from earrings randomly purchased in Denmark.
The authors included a total of three hundred four earrings that were examined with x-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry. Earrings with measured content of chromium or cobalt were spot tested with diphenylcarbazide spot test (n = 166) or Nitroso-R spot-test (n = 99), respectively.
Chromium and cobalt release were quantified in a selected subsample (n = 100) with the artificial sweat test.
The results of the study showed that chromium was present in 54.6% (166/304) of earrings and cobalt was present in 72.0% (219/304),- measured by XRF. All chromium spot tests for chromium VI were negative.
Furthermore, the cobalt spot test was positive for one component. Chromium release was found from 59/100 (median concentration = -0.06 μg/cm2 /week) and cobalt release from 29/100 (median concentration = -0.06 μg/cm2 /week) of earrings in tested subsample.
Hence, the researchers concluded that earrings for piercing release chromium and cobalt and may on a case basis be a source of chromium and cobalt allergy.
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Chromium and Cobalt Release From Metallic Earrings From the Danish Market
Contact Derm 2021 Jun 20;[EPub Ahead of Print], M Wennervaldt, MG Ahlström, T Menné, MB Haulrig, F Alinaghi, JP Thyssen, JD Johansen