History of the European Directive
Based on the pioneering work on allergy to nickel in 1991 by Dr. Carola Linden, a Swedish dermatologist, the first European Nickel Directive became a law and came into force June 1994 in all the European Community Countries.
The supporting test method on nickel release became a Standard (EN 1811), which outlines the requirements of the Directive and pass the nickel release test conducted on jewelry products.
The test measures the leaching rate of nickel when the jewelry article is immersed in an artificial sweat solution. The 1994 European Directive established two basic nickel requirements for jewelry alloys:
Previous Revision of European Directive
The practical exclusion of nickel and numerous discrepancies of testing instances brought about the first revision of the Directive in 2004, which dealt only with nickel release rates and removed the restriction on the nickel content.
In spite of these improvements, the nickel release limits imposed by revisions of the standard have proved to be insufficient to avoid reactions in sensitized subjects. In addition, tests revealed that the artificial sweat degraded over the course of a week’s testing which made the nickel release result to be suspect.
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