Cobalt release from implants and consumer items and characteristics of cobalt sensitized patients with dermatitis

Jacob Pontoppidan Thyssen, Torkil Menne, Carola Liden, Anneli Julander, Peter Jensen, Stig Storgaard Jakobsen, Kjeld Søballe, Klaus Gotfredsen, Morten Stendahl Jellesen, Jeanne D. Johansen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Background. Cobalt allergy is prevalent in dermatitis patients. Very little documentation exists about current sources of cobalt exposure.Objectives. To investigate and discuss putative sources of cobalt exposure and to present selected epidemiological data on cobalt allergy from patch-tested dermatitis patients in an attempt to better understand cobalt allergy.Materials and methods. 19 780 dermatitis patients aged 4-99 years were patch tested with nickel, chromium or cobalt between 1985 and 2010. The cobalt spot test was used to test for cobalt ion release from mobile phones as well as cobalt-containing dental alloys and revised hip implant components.Results. Six of eight dental alloys and 10 of 98 revised hip implant components released cobalt in the cobalt spot test, whereas none of 50 mobile phones gave positive reactions. The clinical relevance of positive cobalt test reactions was difficult to determine in the majority of patients. Isolated patch test reactivity to cobalt was less associated with occupational dermatitis and hand eczema than patch test reactivity to cobalt in combination with other contact allergies.Conclusions. It is often difficult to interpret the relevance of a positive patch test reaction to cobalt, and there is a need for further studies to determine sources of cobalt exposure.
Original languageEnglish
JournalContact Dermatitis
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)113-122
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • consumer item
  • mobile phone exposure
  • cobalt allergy immune system disease
  • dermatitis Dermatitis (MeSH) integumentary system disease
  • eczema Eczema (MeSH) integumentary system disease
  • occupational dermatitis Dermatitis, Occupational (MeSH) integumentary system disease
  • Primates Mammalia Vertebrata Chordata Animalia (Animals, Chordates, Humans, Mammals, Primates, Vertebrates) - Hominidae [86215] human common child, aged, aged/80 and over, middle age, preadolescent child, adult, adolescent female, male
  • chromium 7440-47-3 toxin
  • cobalt 7440-48-4 toxin
  • cobalt ion 22541-53-3
  • nickel 7440-02-0 toxin
  • 10069, Biochemistry studies - Minerals
  • 18506, Integumentary system - Pathology
  • 22501, Toxicology - General and methods
  • 22506, Toxicology - Environment and industry
  • 24500, Gerontology
  • 25000, Pediatrics
  • 34508, Immunology - Immunopathology, tissue immunology
  • 35500, Allergy
  • 37013, Public health - Occupational health
  • Allied Medical Sciences
  • Clinical Immunology, Human Medicine, Medical Sciences
  • Human Medicine, Medical Sciences
  • dental alloy medical equipment
  • patch test clinical techniques, diagnostic techniques
  • revised hip implant medical equipment
  • Allergy
  • Dermatology
  • Occupational Health
  • Toxicology

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