• Anneli JulanderEmail author
  • Carola Lidén
Reference work entry


Nickel is the most frequent cause of contact allergy, affecting up to 22% of women and 5% of men, and hand eczema is reported by 30–40% of nickel-allergic individuals. Certain occupational groups are much more affected. Occupational skin exposure to nickel is an important risk factor for hand eczema. Exposure reduction is essential for prevention.

Pure nickel metal, nickel-containing alloys, coatings, and compounds have different ability to release nickel ions and to cause sensitization and dermatitis. The dimethylglyoxime test is useful in assessment of nickel exposure and exposure reduction in the workplace and elsewhere. Skin exposure to nickel can be quantified, and knowledge on exposure levels will contribute to improved risk assessment and prevention.

Nickel release from articles intended for prolonged contact with the skin is restricted in the EU. In an attempt to improve protection, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has defined that “prolonged contact” in relation to nickel is 10 min or more and has explained that the restriction covers articles for workers, professionals, and consumers. It should be recalled that also short and repetitive contact contributes significantly to nickel exposure.


Acid wipe sampling Alloys Cashiers Coins Construction workers Dimethylglyoxime test DMG test Nickel directive Exposure reduction Hairdressers Metal workers Nickel Nickel release Nickel restriction Platers Prevention Exposure assessment Stainless steel Tools 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Environmental MedicineKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden

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