Project: Cobalt nanoparticles - a risk of uptake and allergy?

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It is unknown if metallic nanoparticles upon contact with skin will give an increased risk of skin allergy. It is also unknown if the small size will increase uptake through the skin into the human body of the metal.

When a metallic material comes into contact with sweat, metal ions are released that are available for uptake through the skin. By measuring release of cobalt from nanoparticles in different artificial sweat solutions, we can evaluate how much metal that potentially can be released upon skin contact. Using diffusion cells, a two chamber glass vial with a piece of skin clamped in the middle, we can evaluate what happens to the cobalt nanoparticles at skin contact, if they are transported through the skin or retained in the skin. As a last step we will test allergic patients with nanoparticles of cobalt to evaluate if the allergic response (eczema) is greater compared to standard allergy testing. This project will give new knowledge and increased understanding of the risks that are associated with skin contact with cobalt as nano-, and micron-sized particles.

Collaboration with the Division of Surface and Corrosion Science, KTH, and with the Department of Occupational and Environmental Dermatology at Lund University.


  • Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (Forte, former FAS)

Contact person

Anneli Julander