There is a great need to accurately assess skin exposure to contact allergens. We have developed a technique for assessment of skin exposure to nickel, chromium and cobalt using acid wipe sampling by cellulose wipes with 1% nitric acid. Chemical analysis was performed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The recovery of nickel, chromium and cobalt from arms and palms was 93%. The analytical result is expressed in terms of mass per unit area (microg/cm(2)). The developed acid wipe sampling technique is suitable for determination of nickel, chromium and cobalt deposited on the skin. The technique may be used in workplace studies, in studies of individuals in the general population, in dermatitis patients, in identification of risk groups, as well as in developing preventive strategies and in follow-up after intervention.