Fact Sheet VI: Risks of nickel exposure

January 15, 2014

There are no set limits for nickel in colourants and products in India

Forty-three per cent of the lipstick brands tested at CSE laboratory contained nickel which can cause allergic reaction when it comes in contact with skin  

Nickel (Ni) is a natural element of the earth's crust and, therefore, small amounts of it are found in food, water, soil, and air. Individuals also may be exposed to nickel in occupations involved in its production, processing, and use, or through contact with everyday items such as nickel-containing jewellery and stainless steel cooking and eating utensils, and by smoking tobacco.

• Nickel can cause allergic reaction when it comes in contact with the skin

• Nickel dermatitis, which causes itching of the fingers, hands, and forearms, is the most common effect in humans from chronic (long-term) skin contact with nickel

• Studies on animals show that if consumed in high amounts, it affects kidneys, stomach and liver

• The United States Environment Protection Agency has classified nickel refinery dust, nickel subsulfide and nickel carbonyl as human carcinogens

Nickel and some of its salts such as nickel sulphate, nickel carbonate and nickel monoxide are banned from use in India, the EU and the US.

The US recognises nickel as an impurity in certain colourants.

In India, there are no set limits for nickel in colourants and finished products.

 

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