Metal Allergy pp 467-479 | Cite as

Metal Allergy: Other Metals

  • Andreas J. Bircher


In the periodic system, metals represent up to 75% of the elements in the principal groups and all the elements in the accessory groups, the lanthanides and the actinides. Metallic elements are typically hard, shiny, and nontransparent and have a good electrical and thermal conductivity and a high density. Apart from the common sensitizing metals, nickel, cobalt, and chromium, there are many more commonly occurring metals present in the environment, in food, cosmetics, and drugs, to which humans can be exposed. Contact allergy to them has been rarely reported, most often from occupational exposure, and from medical implants and particularly dental alloys. Clinical manifestations include allergic contact dermatitis and stomatitis, but systemic contact dermatitis has also been observed. Although so-called metal test series with rarely sensitizing metals for patch testing exist, most of these metals have not been systematically evaluated regarding the compounds, the concentrations, and the vehicles that are used for patch testing. Therefore, a lack of standardization and validation is currently present. In this chapter, we give an overview of metal compounds, concentrations, and vehicles (if indicated) as reported in the literature. This information should, however, be used with caution. Because metals may have an irritant potential and some metals are even toxic to the human organism, it is mandatory that the utmost reservation be exercised with the testing of nonstandardized metal compounds. Finally, the reading, interpretation, and establishment of relevance require a careful analysis by experienced dermatologists.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Allergy Unit, Dermatology ClinicUniversity Hospital BaselBaselSwitzerland

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