Re: Allergic to my harmonica!

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Posted by Ron on July 06, 2001 at 09:47:55:

In Reply to: Allergic to my harmonica! posted by Kira on July 06, 2001 at 08:34:50:

Hello Kira,

I am an Certified Industrial Hygienist which basically is a person with education, training, experience, and certificatio in dealing with occupational exposures to nasty chemicals and such. It sounds like you have either a chrome allergy or a nickel allergy (probably chrome). "Stainless" metals such as stainless steel usually contain a good slug of each. I'll bet that even the nickel plated cover plates have some chrome alloyed in. You could also be allergic to one of the metals in the brass reed plates. Brass is an alloy that consists mainly copper with a good slug of zinc thrown into the mix. You could be allergic to any or all of these metals. To make matters worse, the acids in your siliva and such will help to leach these metals out of the cover plates and reed plates.

You might give a Hohner Cross Harp a try. It has a gold anodized body and the cover plates seem to have some coating on them as well (I am not sure what the coating is). It is rare for people to have allergies to gold and hopefully the coating on the cover plates will provide you with some protection. If worse comes to worse you could try to put a coating on the cover plates. The coating would have to be something that you are not allergic to. Beware, most of the pigments in paints are derived from metals. It would be great if you could come up with a plastic cover plate. It is rare for people to be allergic to plastic. WARNING: Don't confuse plastic with latex. Many people are allergic to latex.
Good luck and have fun.


: I'm allergic to many metals, and am devastated to find that my harmonicas seem to use them. The day after a 1/2 hour session, my lips are swollen up and sensitive. This doesn't seem to be just normal irritation ... I've talked to a couple friends who play and the worst they've ever had is some chapped lips.

: I have two Hohners, both with nickel-plated steel exteriors. The one with no brass showing along the mouthpiece seems better. The music store didn't have any other exterior options.

: Can anyone recommend something I can coat parts of the harp with to get rid of this reaction?

: Many thanks.

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