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Tukes had spectacle frames tested: almost half of them released too much nickel that is hazardous to health

Mediatiedote 11.3.2020 9.28 | Published in English on 13.3.2020 at 14.50
Press release

The spectacle frames that the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) had tested released sensitising nickel in quantities that may cause nickel allergy and allergic contact dermatitis. Tukes has contacted the companies that sold the frames tested and required them to withdraw the spectacle frames not meeting the legal requirements from sale and to call them back from the consumers.

Tukes had a total of 21 eyewear frame models tested using a testing method approved by the European Committee for Standardization. The products selected to testing were bought from various Finnish opticians.

“Based on testing, eight frame models released too much nickel,” says Senior Officer Anneli Pärnänen from Tukes.  

Tukes ordered five spectacle models of Instru Optiikka Oy and three spectacle models of Specsavers Finland Oy to be removed from the market. The companies were also required to call back the products in question from consumers. The products removed from the market can be found in Tukes market surveillance register.

Two different methods were used for testing nickel release: surface coating test and migration test.  The frames were pre-processed before testing to imitate normal wear during use. The purpose of the surface coating test is to show that the coating of the frame is adequate for preventing release of nickel from the metal.  The migration test measures the quantity of nickel released from the sample when it is exposed to artificial sweat. The release is measured from those areas of the frame that are intended to come into direct, prolonged contact with the skin.

EU legislation restricts the use of nickel

Nickel is the most common cause of allergic contact dermatitis, which is why the EU chemicals legislation restricts the use of nickel in articles intended to come into direct contact with the skin, such as spectacle frames.

“The nickel released from spectacle frames is a sensitising substance, and exposure to it may cause permanent sensitization to nickel, also called nickel allergy. To people with a nickel allergy, nickel may cause allergic contact dermatitis even in small quantities,” says Senior Officer Petteri Talasniemi from Tukes.

People allergic to nickel must avoid skin contact to metals that may release nickel. In addition to spectacle frames, restrictions on the quantity of nickel released have been set for such products as jewellery, and buttons and zippers in clothing. Allergic contact dermatitis is an inconvenient health hazard that may deteriorate the quality of life and working ability.

The decisions taken by Tukes are lot-specific and they concerned the following spectacle frame models:

Instru Optiikka Oy: recalls set for five frame models

– ANP-20190702-04; Calvin Klein metal spectacle frames, brown on the outside, titanium coloured on the inside. Model name: CK5454, colour code 604

– ANP-20190702-06; Bvlgari, metal spectacle frames, colour: gold and black. Model name OBV2198B, colour code 2033

– ANP-20190529-02; Ray Ban brown/gold metal spectacle frames. Model name ORX6378, colour code 2905    

– ANP-20190702-03; Burberry metal spectacle frames, brown, with the Burberry pattern on the arm piece. Model name OBE1313Q, colour code 1240

– ANP-20190702-01; Guess metal spectacle frames, blue/black/metal coloured. Model name GU2469, colour code: TL 52

 Specsavers Finland Oy: recalls set for three frame models

– ANP-20190620-03; Disney, Cinderella, metal spectacle frames, colour: patterned violet. Product lot T82

– ANP-20190620-01; Ivana Helsinki, Thea, metal spectacle frames, colour: gold. Product lot: TA1

– ANP-20190620-02; DAY 17 Birger et Mikkelsen, metal spectacle frames, colour: gold and black. Product lot U91

The spectacle frames to which the recall order applies can be returned to the store where they were sold.

What do sales ban, removing product from the market and product recall mean?

If a product is not compliant with the requirements set for the product group, Tukes may issue a prohibition decision on the product to a company. Typical prohibitions include a sales ban, removing product from the market and a product recall. The sales ban means that the selling of the product must be stopped.  Removing product from the market means that the company must stop selling the product and collect the products from its own retailers. The product recall, on the other hand, means that the company must not only remove the product from the market but also take steps to recall the products from the final users and inform about the hazard caused by the product.

Further information:

Surveillance project: Senior Officer Anneli Pärnänen, tel. +358 29 5052 637
Chemical risks: Senior Officer Petteri Talasniemi tel. +358 295 052 104
Email format: [email protected]

Link to photo: Spectacles Tukes had tested with frames that release too high quantities of nickel

Expiration date: 2020-05-31