Nickel Exposure Can Be Deadly

True Consequences, Deadly Outcomes of Nickel Allergies


There has been a recent 40 percent increase in the number of people testing positive for nickel allergies or nickel sensitivity, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Is Your Jewelry Making You Sick?

One of the most hidden culprits of allergies is nickel. Nickel is used to make everything from fashion jewelry to pens and paper clips, to bra snaps, batteries, coins, and eyeglasses, and according to the American Academy of Dermatology, it is one of the biggest causes of contact dermatitis in America and the world over. Nickel contact dermatitis causes either, mild itching and redness, or severe infections. If you are allergic to nickel, the only way to prevent allergic reactions is to prevent exposure. Wear jewelry made from stainless steel, or if you can afford it, 24 karat instead 14 karat gold, which is often mixed with nickel. If not already exposed, you may want to limit your use of less costly jewelry, since that can often have larger amounts of nickel.

Nickel allergies are something you develop, they are not something you are born with. Researchers blame such habits as biting paper clips and pens, and the surge of body piercing as part of the increase allergic reactions to nickel; and once a nickel allergy, it lasts for a lifetime. For those who are allergic to jewelry made of nickel, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends jewelry made of surgical stainless steel or a coated alloy. Nickel jewelry can come in the form of gold, platinum and silver, but is most commonly used to make costume jewelry and 14 karat gold jewelry. In addition to coming into contact with nickel on the surface, or ingesting it through biting on pens and paper clips, nickel allergies can develop from eating foods high in nickel such as shellfish, chocolate milk, and beans. People also react when drinking nickel in faucet water or breathing it in dust. It is also found in textiles, fragrances and cosmetics.

Allergic Reactions

The United States Department of Health and Human Service Agency for Toxic and Disease Registry warns that those allergic to nickel may also develop asthma attacks following contact with nickel exposure. Those with allergic reactions to nickel develop painful topical rashes and skin irritations that last from one to four weeks. Nickel allergies can also cause eczema, which becomes worse in the summer heat. Fumes from heated nickel can cause shortness of breath and coughing, while higher exposures can cause a build-up of fluid in the lungs. There has also been a link between nickel and lung, nose and throat cancer, and the damaging of an unborn fetus. There is also nickel in cigarettes, causing breathing problems and emphysema.

Nickel – an Occupational Hazard

Nickel is a carcinogen, meaning that inhaling this substance is hazardous to your lungs and nasal canal. As a result, nickel is on the Hazardous Substance List in the United States as being one of the most dangerous alloys, and is regulated by OSHA (Occupational Hazard Safety Association). Since nickel can be found in the work place, and is therefore an occupational hazard. The levels of exposure to carcinogens/ nickel is very minute, and all necessary precautions should be taken to reduce your risk to nickel exposure. According to OSHA, the legal airborne limit to nickel exposure is 1 milligram per every eight hours.

Where is Nickel Found?

Exposure to nickel can be found where metal compounds and alloys are welded, cut, and plated, causing the air to become extremely hot, and setting-off metal carcinogenic fumes, such as nickel. Exposure to these fumes should be regulated, and anybody in that Environment is strongly advised to wear a facemask to limit exposure.

Health Risks

Rarely does anything come without risk, and there are some things that we, as humans, can get away with, but exposure to nickel is not one if them. Once you’ve been exposed to this ultra hazardous chemical, you will know it by your body’s adverse reaction. Immediate indications that your body reveals a negative reaction to nickel exposure includes irritated eyes, itchy skin, shortness of breathe, coughing, and possible fluid in the lungs. The former symptoms are tolerable, and curable. Check with your doctor immediately if you suffer from any of these symptoms.

Nickel – The Deadly Truth

Unfortunately, long-term exposure to nickel can cause a plethora of more severe, and ultimately fatal symptoms. Chronic health effects to nickel exposure are a result of long-term nickel inhalation, and can last years in the body before one even knows of the deterioration being caused to them by this dangerous metal. Cancer of the lung, nose and throat are a direct result of extended exposure to nickel fumes.

If you suspect you’ve have been exposed to nickel, or question any rashes due to jewelry, or occupational exposure, seek medical attention immediately.