Experts have expressed concern over the health risk from
nickel-plated coins to be introduced by Royal Mint which they claim could
affect people with nickel allergy.
In a letter published today on BMJ the authors say that
there has been no assessment of the new coinage which is being brought in to
save costs. Furthermore, there has been no consideration (by HM Treasury
officials or the Royal Mint) given to the potential costs to health in terms of
skin disease, financial implications to the NHS or other costs to the taxpayer.
The Royal Mint has in fact confirmed that they have "no
information on nickel-release from the new coins" and that no studies or
assessments have been undertaken on how it may affect those with a nickel
In comparison, The Treasury's Swedish counterparts, Swedish
Riksbank have recently concluded that nickel-plated coins "pose unacceptable
risks to health" and they will "not be using nickel containing alloys in their
The Royal Mint may have followed all the rules with regards
to the introduction of new coinage, but there is still no proof that those with
hand eczema (dermatitis) or nickel contact allergies will not suffer.
The authors suggest that Sir John Beddington, Chief
Scientific Adviser to HM Government, gives his opinion on the matter. The
letter ends with the last thought that public records should show that
"competent risk assessment has formally considered the concerns".