Government agency develops nickel-free plating procedure to reduce skin disorders caused by jewelry

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : November 1, 2022, 17:34 Updated : November 1, 2022, 17:54

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SEOUL -- A government agency that leads national standards and technical evaluation in South Korea developed a plating technique that uses alternative chemical elements to replace nickel, a heavy metal used to improve the gloss and corrosion resistance of metal accessories. The amount of nickel used in the plating process was regulated as it causes various skin problems such as contact dermatitis, allergies and edema.
The Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS) said the nickel-free plating technique that was developed through collaboration with research bodies will be distributed to related industries to establish a safe metal accessory ecosystem. The new method is similar to the existing nickel-based plating process but it does not require additional facilities and expensive additives, which makes it suitable for metal elongation plating. The new technique uses main raw materials including copper cyanide, sodium tartrate, zinc cyanide, potassium cyanide and sodium hydroxide.
"We have developed an affordable nickel-free plating technique through cooperation with related industries by considering the characteristics of the metal jewelry sector which the majority of them are small-sized companies," KATS director Lee Sang-hoon said in a statement on November 1. "In the future, we will utilize the nickel-free plating technique to manufacture and distribute safe metal accessories, creating an environment in which consumers can purchase and use them without worries."
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