How your phone could harm your health

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iol scitehc nov 28 blackberry store REUTERS

London - They are two major players in the smartphone market, with millions of users.

But, when it comes to your health, the iPhone emerges as the clear winner over a BlackBerry.

Scientists tested several popular smartphones for two of the most common allergens – cobalt and nickel – and found neither metal was present in iPhones.

But a third of BlackBerrys tested contained nickel, which can bring those with sensitive skin out in a rash.

A nickel allergy is the most common allergy in Britain, thought to affect 30 percent of the population and rising.

The scientists tested the phones’ buttons, keypad, speakers, camera and metal panels.

Dr Tania Mucci, who presented the study at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, said: “Both metals can cause an allergic reaction including dry, itchy patches along the cheekbones, jawline and ears.”

Nickel is a silvery-white metal used in alloys because of its resistance to corrosion. It is found in objects including door handles, scissors, jewellery – and even occurs naturally in some foods, such as nuts and kidney beans.

“Patients with nickel and cobalt allergies should consider using iPhones to reduce the chance of having an allergic reaction,” said allergist Dr Luz Fonacier.

“BlackBerry users with known allergies should avoid prolonged conversations, text messaging and handling their phones if they begin noticing symptoms.”

Women have a higher risk of developing mobile phone dermatitis as they are more likely to have become sensitive to the metal following a reaction to nickel-coated jewellery.

The British Association of Dermatologists advises anyone who develops a rash on their face which might be due to prolonged mobile phone use to seek advice from their doctor.

A spokesman said: “In mobile phone dermatitis, the rash would typically occur on the cheek or ear.” - Daily Mail

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