Contact dermatitis

Identification of metallic items that caused nickel dermatitis in Danish patients.

PMID 20690938


Nickel allergy is prevalent as assessed by epidemiological studies. In an attempt to further identify and characterize sources that may result in nickel allergy and dermatitis, we analysed items identified by nickel-allergic dermatitis patients as causative of nickel dermatitis by using the dimethylglyoxime (DMG) test. Dermatitis patients with nickel allergy of current relevance were identified over a 2-year period in a tertiary referral patch test centre. When possible, their work tools and personal items were examined with the DMG test. Among 95 nickel-allergic dermatitis patients, 70 (73.7%) had metallic items investigated for nickel release. A total of 151 items were investigated, and 66 (43.7%) gave positive DMG test reactions. Objects were nearly all purchased or acquired after the introduction of the EU Nickel Directive. Only one object had been inherited, and only two objects had been purchased outside of Denmark. DMG testing is valuable as a screening test for nickel release and should be used to identify relevant exposures in nickel-allergic patients. Mainly consumer items, but also work tools used in an occupational setting, released nickel in dermatitis patients. This study confirmed 'risk items' from previous studies, including mobile phones.