A bad penny? New coins and nickel allergy

June 24, 2013 in British Coins, Coins, Health, Nickel Coins, UK Coins

By Anna Lacey BBC Health Check (

Tests suggest people with a nickel allergy can be at increased risk when handling the UK’s new 5p and 10p coins.

The coins, introduced in January 2012, caused a complete shake-up in the world of small change.

Instead of the copper-nickel alloy that’s been weighing down our pockets since 1947, new 5p and 10p pieces will be made from steel and coated with a layer of nickel.

To the untrained eye, there’s very little difference. They’ve got the same silver shine and the same jangle.

But for the 10% of the population who suffer from a nickel allergy, they could feel very different indeed.

Concerned dermatologists wrote to the British Medical Journal after the coins were released to call for a proper assessment of the health risks.

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