AMUK Healthy Living Blog


New Coins Could Cause Skin Problems

Author : Hazel Econs

The BBC Medical News wrote an article on the 20 April concerning :

Fears are being raised that 5p and 10p coins being introduced into circulation could cause skin problems.  The coins are made from steel but plated in nickel, replacing the current cupro-nickel version which contains 75% copper and 25% nickel.

Dermatologists told the British Medical Journal the move could cause problems for people who have nickel allergies, including some people with eczema.  But the Royal Mint said the change would not have an adverse impact.

The new coins, which come into circulation in the next few months, are being introduced because of the rising cost of copper.  The Treasury believes it could save £10m a year, although millions have been spent changing vending machines and parking meters as the new coins are slightly thicker, causing anger among councils and industry.

Up to 10% of the population, predominantly women, are thought to be affected by nickel allergy.  The latest controversy has been raised by dermatologists from St John's Institute of Dermatology in London and the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield.  The authors warned that there had been no health assessment of the new coinage.  Professor David Gawkrodger, University of Sheffield: "It is a theoretical concern"

In comparison in Sweden its central bank, the Swedish Riksbank, has recently concluded that nickel-plated coins "pose unacceptable risks to health", the BMJ reported.  In a letter to the BMJ, the dermatologists said there was the potential for more skin problems, which could have financial implications for the NHS.  They said: "Considerable evidence supports these concerns, which have not been assessed by the Treasury or Royal Mint."

COMMENT By Hazel Econs Director of Allergy Medical UK

Jewellery no longer contains nickel due to the problems caused such as contact eczema, skin irrtation and rashes. 

The extent and variety of problems caused by metals and chemicals is little recognised or accepted by the medical profession.  We offer blood tests which can measure the sensitivity and toxicity to metals.

The main overload of nickel comes from metal fillings in teeth, along with mercury which is a common cause of sensitivity to heavy metals.

Read more on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity


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