The change, proposed by the former Labour government, to save the Royal Mint between £7 million and £8 million a year by abandoning the use of copper & instead using nickel has caused quite a stir. It has been revealed that 5p & 10p coins are going to start being made from steel with a nickel coating which is known to cause a skin allergy problems, hence the reason it not being used in jewellery any more. The ‘silver’ 5p and 10p coins have always been made from a metal known as cupronickel, an alloy made of 75 per cent copper, 25 per cent nickel. Another issue raised with the change in metal coating used for 5p & 10p coins is that the coins are going to be thicker, meaning they may not work in hundreds of thousands of machines around the country causing far too many problems. It’s been said that the change will cost the vending industry £42 million & the coin industry nearly as much as £100 million.
Nickel is Legally Banned from Jewellery & Should Not be Used in Coinage
Nickel is known to be one of the most common causes of skin allergies with it affecting 10% of the UK adult population. Nickel sensitive patients develop dermatitis which is caused by nickel permeating through the skin of their hands causing a long-term disability. Avoiding nickel is almost impossible as it is found in hundreds of thousands of substances. The most common sensitisation caused by nickel is through body piercings & is perpetuated by prolonged contact with nickel.
The change in metal for the use of 5p & 10p coins is due to take place from January 1st of next year.