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April 17, 1967

Skin Reactions From Gold Jewelry Contaminated With Radon Deposit

Author Affiliations

From the New York Operations Office, US Atomic Energy Commission (Drs. Simon and Harley), and the Department of Radiotherapy, Mt. Sinai Hospital (Dr. Simon), New York.

JAMA. 1967;200(3):254-255. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120160120027

GOLD JEWELRY may be contaminated sufficiently with radiation to represent a hazard to the wearer. The finding of gold rings containing decay products of radon has prompted this report.

Report of Cases  A professor and his wife were seen by us because of chronic skin lesions of their ring fingers and the recent finding of radioactivity in their wedding rings. In December 1940, 26 years ago, they were married in a double ring ceremony. They wore their rings constantly, and the bride noticed a rash under her ring after about a year. Subsequently a skin reaction also developed under the husband's ring. In those early years of their marriage they were living in Indiana, and the skin rashes were considered to be due to detergents which had just been available to the housewife. The itching, redness, and later blistering of the fingers finally forced both husband and wife to remove