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Contact Dermatitis. 2012 Nov;67(5):270-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0536.2012.02059.x. Epub 2012 Mar 19.

Contact allergy to metals in adolescents: nickel release from metal accessories 7 years after the implementation of the EU Nickel Directive in Poland.

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  • 1Centre of Occupational Allergy and Environmental Health, Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Lodz, Poland.



Contact allergy among adolescents is an important issue.


To assess the prevalence of contact allergy to metals in adolescents aged 15 years and nickel release from metal accessories that are in direct contact with the skin.


Three hundred and nine females and 219 males, all 15 years old, from randomly selected secondary schools were examined and patch tested with nickel sulfate, cobalt chloride, palladium chloride, and potassium dichromate. Three hundred and ninety-nine metal accessories were tested with the dimethylglyoxime (DMG) test.


'Metal dermatitis' was reported by 19.4% of females and 0.5% of males. Positive patch test reactions were found in 8.5% of the adolescents (12.9% in females; 2.3% in males), namely to: nickel (12.3% of females; 1.4% of males); palladium (5.2% of females; 0.5% of males); cobalt (3.2% of females; 1.4% of males); and chromium (1.3% of females; 0.9% of males). Allergic contact dermatitis caused by metals was diagnosed in 9.7% of females and in 0.5% of males. Of the metal items, 26.1% gave positive DMG test results: 10.0% of earrings, 11.4% of snaps, and 56.2% of belt buckles.


Despite the implementation of the Nickel Directive in Poland, nickel still remains an important causal factor for allergic contact dermatitis. Numerous metal accessories do not comply with the Directive.

© 2012 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

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