Metal Allergy pp 365-372 | Cite as

Metal Allergy: Cobalt

  • Anneli Julander


Cobalt is a metal with a silvery appearance with special properties such as ferromagnetism and a high resistance to heat and wear, causing it to be widely used in many different applications. Cobalt has a well-known toxicity, and it is a potent skin sensitizer and one of the most common causes of contact allergy. Cobalt allergy is common in dermatitis patients in general, but more pronounced among specific occupational groups. Among patch-tested dermatitis patients, prevalence numbers range from 4.5% to around 11% for studies from Europe and North America, whereas the typical range for occupational groups are 4% to 20%. Some of the most well-known occupations where cobalt allergy have been prevalent include hard metal workers, pottery and porcelain workers, and construction workers. Consumer exposure to cobalt mainly occurs from items such as jeweller, leather, cosmetics and electronics. In jewellery and electronics cobalt is used in its metallic state, but for leather and cosmetics it is mostly used as a pigment.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Environmental MedicineKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden

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