Author(s): Goon AT, Goh CL
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Abstract This is a clinical epidemiologic study to determine the frequency of metal allergy among patch-tested patients in the years 2001-2003. The results are compared with those of previous studies. All patients diagnosed as having allergic contact dermatitis in the National Skin Centre, Singapore, from January 2001 to December 2003 were studied retrospectively. The frequency of positive patch tests to the following metals were nickel 19.9\%, chromate 5.6\%, cobalt 8.2\% and gold 8.3\%. The frequency of nickel allergy has been steadily rising over the last 20 years. The most common sources of nickel allergy are costume jewelry, belt buckles, wrist watches and spectacle frames. After declining from 1984 to 1990, chromate and cobalt allergies have also been steadily increasing subsequently. The most common sources of chromate allergy were cement, leather and metal objects. Most positive patch tests to cobalt are regarded as co-sensitization due to primary nickel or chromate allergies. There has been a steep increase in positive patch tests to gold from 2001 to 2003, which is difficult to explain because the relevance and sources of such positive patch tests can rarely be determined with certainty. There has been an overall rise in the frequency of metal allergy in the last 20 years.
This article was published in Contact Dermatitis
and referenced in Journal of Cytology & Histology