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Pseudo-cross-sensitivity between cobalt and nickel


, : Pseudo-cross-sensitivity between cobalt and nickel. Acta Dermato Vernereol 46(1): 40-45

At the Dermatological Out-patient Clinic of the Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, cobalt, in addition to nickel, was included in the routine patch test series in 1948. The patterns of cobalt and nickel sensitivity were followed during a 16-year period from 1949 to 1964. It was found that in nickel platers the sensitivity was in most cases towards nickel alone, only 15 out of 93 patients (16%) being sensitive to both these metals, whereas combined sensitivity to cobalt and nickel occurred in 55 out of 87 cases (63%) of suspender eczema. There had been a change in patterns of sensitivity to cobalt and nickel during the 16 years concerned. Among nickel platers almost all cases of combined sensitivity to cobalt and nickel occurred during the 1st 8-year period from 1949 to 1956, whereas during the period from 1957 to 1964 the sensitivity was to nickel alone in all but 2 exceptional cases. In both of these the combined sensitivity to cobalt and nickel could be regarded as due to a known exposure to both these metals. Until 1955, cobalt salts were frequently added to nickel baths as brighteners in order to obtain a highly lustrous surface. Since then, organic brighteners have replaced cobalt almost everywhere in Finland, the nickel salts for electroplating contain not more than 0.04% cobalt. Exposure to cobalt in connection with nickel plating is almost negligible. There is no true cross-sensitivity between cobalt and nickel. The once very common, combined sensitivity to cobalt and nickel is due to 2 independent primary sensitizations which can be named pseudo-cross-sensitivity.

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