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Contact Dermatitis. 2013 Nov;69(5):288-95. doi: 10.1111/cod.12118. Epub 2013 Aug 2.

Usage test with palladium-coated earrings in patients with contact allergy to palladium and nickel.

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  • 1Department of Occupational and Environmental Dermatology, Skåne University Hospital, Lund University, Malmö, S-205 02, Sweden,; Department of Dermatology, Skåne University Hospital, Lund University, Malmö, S-205 02, Sweden.



Since the EU Nickel Directive came into force, concern has been raised that palladium may increasingly replace nickel in alloys used in jewellery and dentistry, and that it may cause as many allergy problems as nickel.


(i) To investigate the clinical relevance of contact allergy to palladium resulting from the wearing of palladium-coated earrings, and (ii) to evaluate the concordance in test results between palladium chloride (PdCl2 ), sodium tetrachloropalladate (Na2 PdCl4 ), and nickel(II) sulfate hexahydrate (NiSO4 .6H2 O), as well as variability in patch test reactivity.


Forty female patients with pierced earlobes and previously known contact allergy to palladium and nickel were patch tested with dilution series of nickel and palladium salts. They wore earrings covered with palladium and titanium for 9 weeks to monitor the appearance of any clinical manifestations.


There is a low risk of eczema in palladium-allergic and nickel-allergic individuals when they wear jewellery coated with pure palladium, but further studies are needed to determine whether palladium, when present in alloys, could cause allergic reactions. PdCl2 , like NiSO4 .6H2 O, shows variability in patch test reactivity over time. Furthermore, Na2 PdCl4 seems to be a more sensitive test substance than PdCl2 for the detection of palladium allergy.


contact allergy; jewellery; nickel; palladium; patch test reactivity; sodium tetrachloropalladate; variability

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