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Study Finds Nearly One-Third of All Inexpensive Earrings Examined Tested Positive for Nickel
Date:5/12/2008

or platinum available from fine jewelry stores. A total of 277 earrings were purchased from four different categories of vendors -- a downtown market with licensed local artists producing custom-made jewelry; jewelry stores in China Town targeting mainly tourists; national and international clothing and accessory chain stores targeting mainly girls and women under age 40; and similar stores targeting mainly women over age 40.

All earrings purchased were examined with the dimethylglyoxime (DMG) test -- a routine spot test using solutions to detect the presence of nickel and other alloys. Of the 277 earrings that were tested, 85 (or 30.7 percent) demonstrated at least one spot that tested DMG-positive for nickel. Dr. Maibach noted that the highest proportion of DMG-positive earrings was purchased from local artists, with 69 percent of these earrings testing positive for nickel. A large portion (42.9 percent) of earrings purchased from stores in China Town also tested positive for nickel.

When the number of DMG-positive earrings was examined from accessory and clothing stores targeting younger women under age 40 and those stores targeting women over age 40, Dr. Maibach found a large discrepancy. Specifically, 24.1 percent of the earrings purchased at the stores targeting younger women tested positive for nickel; whereas only 1.7 percent of earrings from stores targeting women over 40 tested DMG positive.

"Except for one store targeting girls and young women where a significant number of DMG-positive earrings were found, the proportion of earrings that tested positive for nickel was generally higher among individual China Town stores and local artists than in individual national and international chain stores," said Dr. Maibach. "We also found no correlation between the country where the earrings were manufactured and the frequency of DMG-positive reactions or whether the price of the inexpensive earrings correlated with testing positive for nickel
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SOURCE American Academy of Dermatology
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