Allergic to Your Cell Phone?


I have heard of people addicted to their Blackberry® (not me of course), but allergic to your Blackberry? Turns out, it is possible.

An 18-year-old patient from Rhode Island was found to be allergic to his cellphone. The case was reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. He presented with an itchy rash on his face as well as on his abdomen.

Rashes on the abdomen sometimes indicate a nickel allergy. The snaps in jeans and belt buckles are often made of nickel and contact the skin on the lower abdomen. Suspicious that the rash on the patient’s face could also be to nickel, the dermatologist tested the cellphone — it was strongly positive for free nickel.

The patient changed to a nickel free cellphone and his dermatitis cleared. When he went back to using his old cellphone the rash returned.

The dermatologists published a list of cellphones that contained nickel here. You can also order your own nickel test kit to use at home here.

Bercovitch L, Luo J. Cellphone contact dermatitis with nickel allergy. CMAJ. 2008 Jan 1;178(1):23-4. Copyright 1995-2008, Canadian Medical Association.

Photo: Derek Olson (flickr)