ALLERGY TO COBALT - WHAT IS IT?
What is Cobalt allergy?
Cobalt allergy affects about 1 in 20 people worldwide. Cobalt is indeed a fairly common allergen, found in many everyday items and environments. Often times, people with Cobalt allergy also have allergy to Nickel and Chromium, which are closely related metals. Overall, about 15% of the population is allergic to these metal allergens, which means hundred of millions of people worldwide!
Cobalt, what are you?
Cobalt belongs to the group of transition metals in the periodic table of elements, with an atomic number of 27 and an atomic mass of 58,93. It was first identified during the 18th century, although this ore was used since Antiquity. Indeed, at that time, it was this element that allowed to create elements in an intense blue glass.
Cobalt is associated with several other metals and elements to create very diverse materials, and the coordination chemistry of Cobalt is one of the richest and most interesting (a science history section here would be interesting…). Pure Cobalt, which is not present on Earth in a native state, is a silvery metal, shiny and hard.
Cobalt, where are you?
In industrial use
Cobalt, thanks to its multiple properties, is implicated in many uses. It is one of the elements allowing the creation of super-alloys (a metal alloy which presents a very good thermal, mechanical, oxidation and corrosion resistance). It can be found in parts used in aeronautics.
Its coloring properties also make it a pigment and coloring agent of choice in paints, ceramics, potteries, prints, plastics, textiles, pencils…
Its catalytic properties are used in rubber and plastic industries, and in petrochemistry or pharmaceutical industry for the hydration of mineral oils.
It can be used in brewery activities to stabilize the beer foam.
Cobalt is also used in the industry of livestock feed (due to the biological role of Cobalt, which is an essential micronutrient). It is also a contaminant for cement, semiconductors, and for galvanisation.
Cobalt can be found in pigments used in cosmetics and make-up, hair dyeing, and tattoos, in clothes coloured in blue (or in some greens), in our food (B12 vitamin is an organometallic molecule constituted by a Cobalt atom), in antiperspirants, in dental or orthopaedic prostheses, in detergents and washing powders, in plastic, and in many metal objects containing Nickel.
It often comes with names such as Cobalt chloride or Cobalt dichloride, Cobalt aluminum oxide (CI 77346), Cobalt acetylmethionate, Cobalt DNA, Cobalt gluconate , Cobalt titanium dioxide and Lithium cobalt titanate.
And in medicines?
Here is a comment that was send by one of our visitors. We thought it is worth sharing as is:
"Hello , I am allergic to cobalt and nickel, and one should know that cobalt can also be in medicines, typically those that contain benzoate, benzalkonium, benzylic, parahydroxydebenzoate, iron oxides C172, sulfamides in some antibiotics, butacaine, tetracaine. Nasal products with avamys cobalt, nasacort,nasonex pivalone , aturgyl, rhinofluimucil, rhinotrophyl and other medicines, spasfon (but not spasfon lyoc), medicines for gastro resistance carbo yeast, sodium alginate, maalox, esomepraprazole, rabeprazole, carbocistein syrup, oxomemazine, ibuprofene, rhinadvil. Exomuc , domperidone, gastropax Xolaam. If your hypersensitivity or allergy seems to persist, do look into the composition of your medicines! I learned this thanks to a medical doctor who checked after observing that my allergies were getting worse."
Cobalt, what do you do?
Cobalt has an influence on the mechanisms involved in the living and is one of the key trace elements for the health of humans and animals, in particular for the production of B12 vitamin – which has an essential role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and is involved in the formation of red blood cells – and other enzymatic metalloproteins involved in the tissue repair mechanism, the cellular degradation and the angiogenesis. However, at a too strong dose, Cobalt has well known toxic effects which can lead to cardiomyopathies and digestive disorders and has been classified as a possible carcinogenic by the INRS.
Finally, Cobalt is an important cause of contact dermatitis / eczema. Cobalt allergy on its own is rare and is more often associated with Nickel or Chromium allergy.
Standard batteries of test include Cobalt as a common allergen. A study published in 2014 by Uter et al in the newspaper Contact Dermatitis, showed a prevalence of sensitivity to Cobalt of approximately 5%, with a growing proportion over time, especially in the young population, and the proportion of persons sensitized is clearly superior for women compared to men.
Cobalt, how to escape you?
Cobalt is often used as a blue pigment or coloring agent. It is therefore recommended to avoid daily objects of this color to minimize exposure. Blue pigments can be hardly visible, in detergents for example.
In addition, Cobalt is often present in cosmetic products, especially those tinted or colored (like make-up. In that case, it is necessary to check the composition of products.
Different forms of Cobalt are authorized for such usage and are designed by: Cobalt aluminum oxide (CI 77346), Cobalt acetylmethionine, Cobalt DNA, Cobalt gluconate, Cobalt titanium dioxide, Cobalt chloride and Lithium cobalt titanate.
Skintifique products that include the CapturifiqueTM technology prevent Cobalt from penetrating into the skin and preserve it from the effects of this metal.
CAPTURES Cobalt allergens before they penetrate into the skin
CAPTURE Cobalt allergens before they penetrate into the skin
the skin natural barrier to prevent Nickel, Chromium and Cobalt from entering the skin and triggering allergic reactions and rashes
skin sensitisation to Nickel, Chromium and Cobalt. CAPTURIFIQUE™ acts on the root cause of the rashes, not just on the symptoms
Use the button below to discover Skintifique's exclusive selection of products for people with skin that is reactive to Cobalt!