Background: Chromium and cobalt are important skin sensitizers. It has, however, been difficult to identify causative exposures. Studies on nickel allergy have demonstrated piercing as critical for both sensitization and elicitation. It may be speculated that the same applies for chromium and cobalt. Objective: To examine the content and release of chromium and cobalt from earrings randomly purchased in Denmark. Methods: Three hundred four earrings were examined with x-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry. Earrings with measured content of chromium or cobalt were spot tested with diphenylcarbazide spot test (n = 166) or Nitroso-R spot-test (n = 99), respectively. Chromium and cobalt release were quantified in a selected subsample (n = 100) with the artificial sweat test (EN 1811). Results: Chromium was present in 54.6% (166/304) of earrings and cobalt was present in 72.0% (219/304),− measured by XRF. All chromium spot tests for chromium VI were negative. The cobalt spot test was positive for one component. Chromium release was found from 59/100 (median concentration = −0.06 μg/cm2/week) and cobalt release from 29/100 (median concentration = −0.06 μg/cm2/week) of earrings in tested subsample. Conclusion: Earrings for piercing release chromium and cobalt and may on a case basis be a source of chromium and cobalt allergy.
- contact allergy
- spot test