Cobalt release from inexpensive jewellery: has the use of cobalt replaced nickel following regulatory intervention?

Jacob Pontoppidan Thyssen, Morten Stendahl Jellesen, Torkil Menné, Carola Lidén, Anneli Julander, Per Møller, Jeanne Duus Johansen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Objectives: The aim was to study 354 consumer items using the cobalt spot test. Cobalt release was assessed to obtain a risk estimate of cobalt allergy and dermatitis in consumers who would wear the jewellery. Methods: The cobalt spot test was used to assess cobalt release from all items. Microstructural characterization was made using scanning electron microscope (SEM) and energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDS). Results: Cobalt release was found in 4 (1.1%) of 354 items. All these had a dark appearance. SEM/EDS was performed on the four dark appearing items which showed tin-cobalt plating on these. Conclusions: This study showed that only a minority of inexpensive jewellery purchased in Denmark released cobalt when analysed with the cobalt spot test. As fashion trends fluctuate and we found cobalt release from dark appearing jewellery, cobalt release from consumer items should be monitored in the future. Industries may not be fully aware of the potential cobalt allergy problem.
Original languageEnglish
JournalContact Dermatitis
Pages (from-to)70-76
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • screening
  • spot test
  • jewellery
  • cobalt allergy
  • cobalt dermatitis
  • cobalt ions

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