NICKEL

What is it?

“Nickel is a chemical element with symbol Ni and atomic number 28. It is a silvery-white lustrous metal with a slight golden tinge. ” Wikipedia

What are the effects?

This substance belongs to the groups:

We are exposed to this metal from multiple sources everyday and the average daily exposure is not a threat to human health. Above average exposure may be toxic.

Nickel is on the Red List from Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a project of Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (previously the Breast Cancer Fund). They classify the metal as a reasonably anticipated carcinogen.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) identifies that nickel “causes damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure, may cause cancer, is harmful to aquatic life with long lasting effects, is suspected of causing cancer, may cause an allergic skin reaction and may cause allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled.”

Nickel was awarded Allergen of the Year in 2008 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society.

How is it used?

Nickel can be found in a wide variety of consumer products, such as rechargeable batteries, jewlery, nickel plated faucets, kitchen sinks, and nickel-steel cookware. In cosmetic* and household products, the metal can for example be found in the color components of makeup, skin cleansers, shampoos and detergents.

Most people have heard about jewelry allergy caused by nickel but this can also be caused by cosmetics. In the same way as you can get a rash from wearing a necklace or ring containing the metal, you can also get an allergic reaction from products such as hair dye, eye shadows, and mascara containing nickel.

We use the European Commissions definition of Cosmetics:
“Cosmetics range from everyday hygiene products such as soap, shampoo, deodorant, and toothpaste to luxury beauty items including perfumes and makeup”.

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