Levels of nickel and other potentially allergenic metals in Ni-tested commercial body creams

B. Bocca, G. Forte, F. Petrucci, A. Cristaudo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is extensively well-known that Ni and other metals occurring as impurities in cosmetic products might give rise to contact dermatitis in subjects with pre-existing allergy. The present study on the content of 13 metals (Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Hg, Ir, Mn, Ni, Pb, Pd, Pt, Rh, and V) in moisturizing creams, labelled as "Ni-tested" (i.e., Ni content -1) and available on the Italian market, provides a basis for assessing their safety for consumers. Quantification of metals was performed by sector field inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry after microwave-assisted acid digestion of products. The developed method had limits of quantification less than 0.8 ng g-1 for all the elements; recovery was in the interval 88% (Cd, Co) to 110% (Hg), and precision was always under 7%. Nickel was present in all the products with levels between 17.5 and 153 ng g-1; three skin creams were slightly above the concentration reported on the label. The other elements were at levels below 1 μg g-1. The highest concentrations, in ng g-1, of Co, Cr, Cu, and Mn were 222, 303, 51.2, and 59.9, respectively. Mean Cd, Pb, and V were below 5 ng g-1, while Hg was absent in all the samples. Among the new emergent allergens, Ir and Rh were in traces or even undetectable, while Pt had levels of 2.65 and 6.28 ng g-1 in two creams and Pd was equal to 1.07 ng g-1 in one product. The overall results are below the sensitizing limit proposed for consumer products and, thus, probably have no significant toxicological effects. Nevertheless, some creams presented amounts of Co and Cr comparable to those of Ni and therefore they have to be monitored in consideration of their cross-reactivity as well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1197-1202
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 3 2007


  • Allergic contact dermatitis
  • Metals
  • Ni-tested body creams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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