Charles, Ron, and others interested in this topic,
Such reputable sources as the American Academy of Family Physicians,
University of Virginia Hospital Center, and University of
Pennsylvania Hospital do affiliate SOME Lichen Planus cases with the
ingestion of gold, such as that used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
I’m not sure who Ron is referring to, but well-respected and
peer-reviewed medical journals routinely cite gold as one of the
causal agents in development of lichen planus.
Specifically, the disorder is believed to be associated with an
allergic or immune system reaction to potent allergens, particularly
medications, dyes, chemicals, and metals. It is a disease that is
rarely seen in children, which supports the belief that a long-term
exposure to an allergen may be a contributing factor. Figures I’ve
seen say that about 1% of lichen planus cases are linked to chemical,
metal, or medication reactions – the other 99% are of other origins
(inherited, Hepatitis C-related, stress-related).
Interestingly, some of the other chemicals that are associated with
it include common antibiotics, arsenic, iodides, quinacrine,
quinidine, and antimony. Some of these you’ll likely recognize as
being used in the jewelry/metals industry, or as common ingredients
in coloring products (quinicrine in particular is used in artistic
So to answer Charles’ original question, I don’t personally know of
any jewelers who have developed lichen planus attributed to their
workplace ingestion of gold. But, given the association of the
disorder with the type of substances we use, it would not be outside
the realm of possibility for it to happen, particularly if the
jeweler were working with gold dust that could be inhaled.
kgoeller at nolimitations.com