Copper is unlikely to cause contact allergy

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7148.1902b (Published 20 June 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1902
  1. Andrew Morris, Research fellow,
  2. John English, Consultant
  1. Department of Dermatology, Queen's Medical Centre, University Hospital, Nottingham NG7 2UH

    EDITOR—In their article on diagnosing allergy Rusznak and Davies give copper as a common example of contact allergy.1 However, copper has an extremely low sensitising potential. During the 16 years from 1960 to 1976 only one case of copper sensitivity was seen at St John's Institute of Dermatology; this occurred in a woman whose hobby was copper beating.2 Copper salts are irritants, and patch testing with high concentrations may give misleading results. On the other hand, cobalt is a well documented sensitising agent,3 and maybe it was to this that the authors meant to refer.


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