The new coins are made from steel, but plated in nickel, replacing the copper made ones that are currently in circulation. The change has been put down to increased copper costs.
Dermatologists have suggested that this move could have a series effect on people affected by a nickel allergy, around 10% of the UK population, and many people suffering from eczema. The authors of the report suggest that there has been no health assessment ahead of the coins’ minting.
"Considerable evidence supports these concerns, which have not been assessed by the Treasury or Royal Mint," they said. The government’s chief scientific advisor Sir John Beddington has been urged to look into the matter.
In response, the Treasury have said that they will not be recalling the coins, and that the change will not have an adverse impact. They are hoping that the changeover will save over £10m a year.
A spokesperson for the Royal Mint said that they were "confident" the change would not lead to any more adverse effects among people with skin problems.Sweden’s central bank, Swedish Riksbank, has banned the coins outright, saying that they pose an “unacceptable risk” to public health.