Another completely different aspect of the metal color
consideration is the rumour that I have heard about the possibility
of making nickel white gold illegal because of the presumed
toxicity of nickel. I have had a problem with this inasmuch as
nickel is a common ingredient of stainless steel in cookware and,
presumably, in surgical steel. My take on this matter is that the
Europeans don't permit the use of white gold for the aforementioned
reason. Does anyone have a better insight into this consideration ?
I have not heard about any push to make nickel white gold illegal
here in the US. In the EU countries it is not just jewelry that is
affected it is anything that comes in contact with the body like
eyeglass frames and buttons. The law does not make nickel illegal it
does specify the amount of nickel that may be released from the
product. If the release rate is less than the specified amount then
there is no problem. I don’t know if cookware and eating utensils
covered by this law. But the component in stainless that makes it
stainless is chromium and it forms a hard transparent oxide layer on
properly passivated stainless steel that effectively seals its
surface. This is what makes it rust resistant and also limits its
Nickel and its compounds are not just presumed toxic they are toxic,
also they are listed either as known carcinogen or suspected
carcinogens and are toxic by all routes of exposure (breathing, skin
contact and ingestion).
These are from some nickel MSDS’s
Nickel (Ni) Exposure Limits: TLV 1.50 mg/m3 (as metal,
inhalable Fraction) PEL 1.00 mg/m3 (metal and insoluble
compounds as Ni) CAS No.: 7440-02-0 The U.S. Toxicology
Program has listed nickel and seven nickel compounds as
carcinogens. The IARC lists nickel compounds as carcinogenic to
humans and metallic nickel as possibly carcinogenic to humans.
Nickel may produce allergic reactions.
Nickel is the essential alloying element. Nickel is classified
in EC Directive 67/548/EEC as a suspect carcinogen (category 3
R40) and as a skin sensitiser (R43).
The classification rules of EC Directive 99/45/EC dictate that
any preparations with equal to or more than 1% content of
nickel must automatically be classified as suspect carcinogens
(R40) and skin sensitisers (R43).
Description of hazards
Prolonged skin contact with nickel alloys may result in an
allergic dermatological reaction. If prolonged skin contact is
involved in the processing of this product, please contact the
supplier for advice. There are normally no hazards to man or
the environment from preparations in the massive form they are
supplied. Dust and fume may be generated during processing
e.g. in welding, cutting and grinding. If airborne
concentrations of dust and fume are excessive, inhalation over
long periods may affect workers' health, primarily of the
James Binnion Metal Arts