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Nickel
Nickel

(Formerly known as 94/27/EC and 2004/96/EC)

The EU Commission published the EU Nickel Directive to address the problem of nickel sensitisation. Nickel can cause allergic contact dermatitis (ACD). This sensitivity to nickel affects approximately 10% of women and 1% of men.

- The regulations mean that it is prohibited to supply any product that comes into direct and prolonged contact with the skin and has a rate of nickel release greater than 0.5 micrograms per square centimetre per week.
- Products that are coated must have a rate of nickel release less than 0.5 micrograms per square centimetre per week when first supplied, and for a period of two years normal use.
- The regulations are more stringent for skin piercing products. Nickel release must be less than 0.2 micrograms per square centimetre per week.

The Directive applies to all sorts of metal items including

- Zips
- Tacks, buttons and rivets
- Buckles
- Jewellery
- Watch straps

"Prolonged skin contact" is not defined by the Directive. Generally a figure of at least 30 minutes a day every day would be regarded as "prolonged", although we are not aware that this has ever been tested in court.

The test methods used are

- EN 1811 - this measures Nickel release. The items are soaked for 7days in a solution of artificial perspiration, after which the amount of nickel released into the perspiration solution is measured.

- EN 12472 - this is a method to simulate wear and corrosion on coated items. The coated items are tumbled in abrasive chips, simulating 2 years use. The samples are then subjected to EN 1811.

- The surface area of the item is calculated and these figures combined to give the amount of nickel released per square centimetre per week.
标签:化学
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