Nickel is a perfect element for jewellery manufacturing and historically nickel was widely used in the jewellery and watch industry. It has the benefit of being white, shiny, cheap, pliable, strong & covers porosity to give a smooth surface. It is also the ideal element to create an “underplate” on a base metal before “flashing” with a thin plating of silver.
However, the use of nickel is now regulated in products which are intended to come into prolonged and direct contact with the skin as Nickel is the most common cause of allergic contact dermatitis.
This may cause a minor allergic irritation for the majority of individuals, but some people experience a severe reaction. The main problem when a nickel sensitive patient develops hand dermatitis. Nickel can easily permeate through the skin of their hands resulting in a perpetuation of the dermatitis. As nickel is such a universally found substance it is almost impossible for sufferers to avoid contact with nickel on hands and long-term disability ensues.
The REACH Directive enforces the 1994 European Nickel Directive which was initiated by dermatologists who had evidence that sensitisation is likely to be caused by ear or body piercing and perpetuated by prolonged contact with nickel.
It is estimated that between 10% and 15% of women and 2-5% of men in Europe are nickel-sensitised, so the danger of a customer suffering bad reactions from a non-conforming product is significant. Subsequent legal action is almost inevitable.
AnchorCert Analytical is the leading Nickel testing specialist in the UK. Our experts work regularly with the Laboratory of the Government Chemist, The Nickel Working Group, the Nickel Development Institute, the British Medical Association and NIPERA (the Nickel Producers Environmental Research Association) to carry out ongoing research and evaluation of nickel testing and regulation.
AnchorCert Analytical is also frequently called upon to offer advice and testing for Trading Standards Authorities.
A comprehensive range of UKAS accredited tests are available from AnchorCert Analytical to ensure that products comply with the current legislation.
To read more about these please click here.
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