Move over brain cancer and cellular tower fears that could cause other unspeakable trouble to one’s health. And forget about the bacteria that might be living on your phone, because while that’s nasty to think about there is something potentially far worse. The new concern, according to a new article on WebMD, is that mobile phones could be the cause of some skin allergies.
Last week the British Association of Dermatologists issued a warning to doctors regarding skin allergies caused by a bit too much contact with mobile phones. British dermatologists are calling it “mobile phone dermatitis.” And it isn’t that the gabbing on the phone was the problem, rather it was the materials in the phone, namely nickel. The symptoms could be red or itchy skin on your cheek and ear, or for heavy texters, red and itchy fingers. But in fairness, after too much texting your fingers might turn red anyway!
So is this a real concern? Well, according to the findings from some universities 10 out of 22 devices have nickel (and not of the wooden variety of course). The dermatologists who conducted the study recommend nickel-sensitive people (which is a very common thing) to spot-test cell phones for nickel using a consumer test kit. The good news is that even phones that have nickel don’t necessarily have it in areas where you’re all that likely to be exposed.
The Canadian Medical Association’s journal, CMAJ states that, “Cell phones intended for rugged use … often have rubber coating and no surface nickel. Those with more fashionable designs often have metallic accents and are more likely to contain free nickel in their casings.”
Various makers of headsets, wired as well as Bluetooth models, of course were quick to jump on these findings to suggest that a headset could spare you from the nickel exposure. That’s good news for allergies, but isn’t the jury still out on the potential hazards of Bluetooth devices? And how do we know the headsets are free of nickel? After all, it’s always something.