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The E-Sylum (9/15/2013)

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David Pickup forwarded this BBC News story about a study of effects of the new Royal Mint coins on people with a nickel allergy. Thanks. -Editor

UK copper-nickel coins Tests suggest people with a nickel allergy can be at increased risk when handling the UK's new 5p and 10p coins.

The coins, introduced in January 2012, caused a complete shake-up in the world of small change.

Instead of the copper-nickel alloy that's been weighing down our pockets since 1947, new 5p and 10p pieces will be made from steel and coated with a layer of nickel.

To the untrained eye, there's very little difference. They've got the same silver shine and the same jangle.

But for the 10% of the population who suffer from a nickel allergy, they could feel very different indeed.

Concerned dermatologists wrote to the British Medical Journal after the coins were released to call for a proper assessment of the health risks.

Now a study in Sweden has answered that call and suggests UK citizens are being "unnecessarily exposed" to higher levels of nickel on their skin.

Since the 1940s, all "silver" coins have been made from an alloy of 75% copper and 25% nickel.

But with rising copper prices, the Treasury and the Royal Mint realised they could save £7m to £8m every year by swapping to nickel-plated steel for 5p and 10p pieces.

"Independent tests have been conducted [on the new coins] by three accredited laboratories using internationally recognised tests for nickel release," says Cheryl Morgan from the Royal Mint.

"We are satisfied that there is no increased risk of people developing a nickel allergy by handling the coins."

To read the complete article, see: A bad penny? New coins and nickel allergy (

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