Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Ear wires for allergies


#1

A potential customer has asked me about the best metal for earwires
for someone who has been unable to wear sterling silver, gold, etc.
She mentionedthat she was thinking about titanium, and I would like
to give her some advice as to what has historically been the best
metal for most people with metal allergies.

Thanks for any help you can provide.
Carolyn Ward


#2
A potential customer has asked me about the best metal for
earwires for someone who has been unable to wear sterling silver,
gold, etc. She mentionedthat she was thinking about titanium, and I
would like to give her some advice as to what has historically been
the best metal for most people with metal allergies. 

There are many factors that affect the reaction of the body to
metals even to the point that the body tries to reject anything that
breaks the protecting outer covering ie the skin!!.

Also where does the customer live? a high humidity and temperature
part of your country? do they have a high saline perspiration? Some
people just dont get on with metals on or through the skin.

so you can try titanium, but it needs to be 99 % and highly
polished.

316 s/steel is the common alloy for body jewellery, all reports
indicate its non reactive.

also PTFE, a very non toxic plastic also used in body piercing.
Available down to 1mm dia.

with a threaded titanium bead on each side of the ear hole, if the
titanium is mirror polished then fire oxidised a sky blue, it does
look lovely.

Another option is to see if you can get it in micro bore sizes to
slide over say 1mm 22ct gold ear wires. Finding this material is
another matter.

You may have to agree with your customer the terms of your research
at her cost before spending what could be days on this issue.


#3

Hi Carolyn,

We have found that both Niobium and Titanium offer hypoallergenic
qualities for even the most sensitive of people. We carry several
styles in both metals and would be happy to send you a sample if
you’d like for your client to try them.

Michele Watters
Reactive Metals Studio, Inc


#4

Platinum is the very best. However you need to make sure that the
solder used to attach the post does not have allergins in it. I had a
client who bought a lovely pair of plat ears and they made her break
out. I looked at them under a loupe and saw that they were put on
with white gold solder. I plated them with rhodium and that fixed the
issue.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry

Jo Haemer
timothywgreen.com


#5

Niobium, hands down.

Best regards,

Michael
radharcknives.com


#6

What about platinum, pallidiaum or surgical grade stainless.

Thank you
Aubrey Finn


#7

HI, as i have been piercing for a long time… i have tried ZINC rich
silver say 10% with silver and have heard that zinc is the least
allergic metal…


#8

Michele

ihave clients that have allergies how can i get a few to try at my
store?

please let me know
thanks
sean


#9

Platinum hands down is the least reactive metal for skin contact,
titanium and niobium are also very good but a very very tiny
percentage of the population will react to them.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#10

Niobium, purest available (high grade) Titanium- or 24 kt gold
(anyone that says they are allergic to 24 kt Yellow is just plain
’dramaticizing"-period, but it has to be an ear wire, no solder, and
no white gold even high karat (which is never 24 kt anyway!).
Platinum is iffy. again an earwire or leverback with no solder
containing zinc or tin( some people cheat in repairing and use white
gold solder on Pt- why? I have no idea but i have seen it) then plate
the Pt if used with rhodium- but it is lower on the list than Niobium
or Ti.,24 kt yellow wire, or fine silver (.999 -or “.9999” available
readily on auction sites and etsy under the industrial metals
categories) many times the allergies are not to fine gold the high
karat yellows, or fine silver but the solder used if it contacts the
skin- plating that contact area with rhodium will generally “allay a
client’s fears”.Other times the person has not cleaned their
jewellery or stored it in fabric that has mildew, molds, etc. that
aren’t visible to the eye but to the nose- becomes apparent.
particularly on dark blue and green cloths in leather boxes and
cases. Environmental factors are sometimes the culprit. recently on
Orchid there was a lengthy thread on metal allergies I suggest
looking it up in the Orchid Archive-(good in there)! I
personally just take in the client’s allergy and know
that some people claim to have allergies to hypoallergenic
materials- but will do what is necessary to make them feel cared for
and supply what they want in the end. rer


#11
Niobium, purest available (high grade) Titanium- or 24 kt gold
(anyone that says they are allergic to 24 kt Yellow is just plain
'dramaticizing"-period, b. rer 

Sorry, you are mistaken. This abstract is available at the US
National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health website:

Am J Contact Dermat. 2001 Mar;12(1):3-5.
Gold allergy in North America.
Fowler J Jr, et al

"Of 4,101 patients tested, 388 (9.5%) had a positive patch test
result to gold. Women accounted for 62.8% of the subjects tested and
90.2% of patients positive to gold


#12
Niobium, purest available (high grade) Titanium- or 24 kt gold
(anyone that says they are allergic to 24 kt Yellow is just plain
'dramaticizing"-period, but it has to be an ear wire, no solder,
and no white gold even high karat (which is never 24 kt anyway!).
Platinum is iffy. 

As reported in a medical study on allergic contact dermatitis there
are indeed people who react to gold. An estimate of the percentages
of the general population that have ACD (allergic contact dermatitis)
to gold is gold 0.5% of the population. The worst offenders are
nickel at 5.8% and cobalt at 3.1% other metals that caused ACD
reactions are palladium 1.6%, chromium 1.2%, copper 0.4%, mercury
0.4%, silver 0.13% and titanium 0.04%. Platinum, tin and zinc caused
no reaction in this study. This data comes from a study on jewelry
metal allergies presented as a paper By Dr Andrea Basso at the Santa
Fe Symposium on Jewelry Manufacturing and Technology in 2006 titled
"Jewelry and Health Recent Updates". Anyone interested can purchase
and download the paper at the Santa Fe Symposium website.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#13
Sorry, you are mistaken. This abstract is available at the US
National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health
website: Am J Contact Dermat. 2001 Mar;12(1):3-5 Gold allergy in
North America Fowler J Jr, et al "Of 4,101 patients tested, 388
(9.5%) had a positive patch test result to gold. Women accounted
for 62.8% of the subjects tested and 90.2% of patients positive to
gold 

In the study what karat gold are the people reacting to- 14karat
alloys? Alloys at all- What gold was used in the “patch” test- 24
karat shouldn’t have a reaction in the majority of people and, as in
ANY medical study one must question the reliability of the test,
methods, funding, etc. and when I personally had an allergy patch
test, they used a small chromed metal tool to create the scratches-
to which they then added a drop of, I believe about 110 common
allergenic substances. so I question the scratch test as I personally
have experienced them. whos is to say it’s not the metal that made
the scratch- From aterials I have read on Medical applicatrions and
uses of pure gold it has been considered ordinarily to have no
allergenic reaction. that is 24 kt. yellow gold. there was a
disclaimer that a small percentage of the population may react to
gold sulfides, but that’s not a gold wire! nor edible gold leaf! So I
would want A Lot more as to how the scratch test ws
accomplished, where and what group of subjects were in the sample. My
guess is it was an alloy of gold used, and the scratches that the
gold were made with had some effect on the outcome, and then there’s
the question of the gold applied to the scratch : in what form was
the gold, and what karat, applied? this sounds like a scratch test
using white gold or 14 karat gold which a good portion of the
population IS allergic to…

rer


#14
As reported in a medical study on allergic contact dermatitis
there are indeed people who react to gold. An estimate of the
percentages of the general population that have ACD (allergic
contact dermatitis) to gold is gold 0.5% of the population. The
worst offenders are nickel at 5.8% and cobalt at 3.1% other metals
that caused ACD reactions are palladium 1.6%, chromium 1.2%, copper
0.4%, mercury 0.4%, silver 0.13% and titanium 0.04%. Platinum, tin
and zinc caused no reaction in this study. This data comes from a
study on jewelry metal allergies presented as a paper By Dr Andrea
Basso at the Santa Fe Symposium on Jewelry Manufacturing and
Technology in 2006 titled "Jewelry and Health Recent Updates".
Anyone interested can purchase and download the paper at the Santa
Fe Symposium website. 

While I agree many are allergic to alloysof gold, white golds in
particular, and solders in gold jewellery, I know of many scientific
and medical sources that say pure 24 karat gold is non-reactive in
humans. Fully edible in small amounts and as a solderless wire,
ring, etc.

very few will react to it if any at all…

I can also find research to support anything and have it lean
towards the point the company funding the research, the researcher,
the manufacturer, etc. wants it to point. Its a known fact about much
research, control groups, sample groups, etc. that it can be
manipulated subtly ! i have seen a wallpaper hanger get contact
dermatitis from the chromed tin metal on the sweep used to smooth the
paper down, as I have known lifeguards react to the zinc oxide that
used to be commonly slathered on noses of those in the sun day in day
out. White gold is a commonly known allergenic form of gold- whomever
would argue that is just arguing to argue- It is perhaps the most
allergenic form of gold sold! No argument there! again though cutting
something out-of-context makes it seem less than the original
statement was intended to convey.

I still assert MOST of the humans are not allergic to 24 karat
yellow gold wire- that is no soldered on anything, or bangles made of
24 kt stock(from tubeless blanks)…I have studiedgold as for
metallurgy and scientific and medical applications for many many
years. I too could write a paper, get a control group, make a scratch
test (using a hypoallergenic scratch “maker”) and apply a small bit
of pure 24 karat gold leaf and I’m betting the reaction rate and
results would differ wildly from Basso’s. I could also point out that
contact dermatitis has many other components and factors that affect
it’s reaction on an individual’s skin… besides simply touching a
pure gold wire to ones cleaned skin. RER


#15

If solder is a big issue you could drill a small hole and laser
weld, have the smallest possible solder seam.


#16

The patients in a 2010 study had airborne “occupational exposure to
gold dust and gold leaf.” Occupational Airborne Allergic Contact
Dermatitis Caused by Gold http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep809m

Yes, the referenceed study and another used “gold sodium thiosulfate
(GST). Na3Au(S203),[2] 99.0% pure. at a 0.5% concentration in
petrolatum” in a patch test with no metal tool involved. The second
also tested 18 other metals with no positive results, including one
in a sulfate form.

Carol


#17

Antidotally- Back in the late 70’s when Tim and I were among the
very very few that made “body” jewelry for oh shall we say “sensitive
body parts”, we found that 24kt and platinum were non reactive in
even the most allergic patrons.

Not a scientific blind survey but good enough for me.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer
timothywgreen.com


#18
I can also find research to support anything and have it lean
towards the point the company funding the research, the
researcher, the manufacturer, etc. wants it to point. 

If you actually have research that contradicts the study please post
it otherwise you are just attempting to discredit the research with
anti scientific BS.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#19

I have been unable to wear any type of earrings for several years
now. Not even my 14K gold. Had my ears repierced this weekend w/
titanium earrings in a new hole. So far, so good, whereas before I
could only stand an earring in my ear for a few minutes. I will just
try using titanium from now on. Thanks for all the info! ~Trish


#20
I question the scratch test as I personally have experienced them.
whos is to say it's not the metal that made the scratch 

If you were allergic to the metal used, you would have tested
positive for all 110 allergens.

Anyway, they didn’t use a scratch test, but a patch test with gold
sodium thiosulfate, and proper controls were used. The researchers
are competent in their field, just as you are in yours.

It is an interesting study. Women are more likely to be allergic to
gold, and people allergic to gold are twice as likely to be allergic
to nickel and cobalt.

Al Balmer
Pine City, NY