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  1. Homo Erectus's Avatar
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    Default BlackBerry could cause allergic reaction: study

    BlackBerry could cause allergic reaction: study
    BlackBerry or iPhone? It’s been a battle for years, but Apple’s smartphone offering may be the healthier pick for anyone with allergies, according to new research from the U.S.

    Nickel used in the production of the Canadian Research In Motion product has been found on the device’s buttons and keyboards, where it could cause an allergic reaction such as dry, itchy skin, says a study presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

    Approximately 8 to 9 per cent of North Americans react adversely to nickel and the College confirms cases of “cellphone dermatitis” are being diagnosed.

    Allergist Dr. Tania Mucci, speaking at the conference in Anaheim, CA, on Nov. 9, said one-third of the study’s BlackBerries tested positive for nickel while iPhone and Android devices came up clean.

    Nickel, along with cobalt — another element found in many electronic devices — can cause allergic reactions including dry, itchy patches along the cheek bones, jaw line and ears.

    Less popular flip phone models were the worst allergy offenders, with roughly 91 per cent of those tested containing nickel and 52 per cent containing cobalt.

    A statement released by RIM on Friday said: “allergic reactions to nickel occur if it is found on the outside of the phone. We test our phones against EU test protocol EN 1811 and have found no nickel exposure on the exterior surface of newly purchased BlackBerry smartphones.”

    Nick Manning, a RIM spokesperson, said every cellphone make contains nickel on the soldered circuit boards inside the device.

    Allergist Dr. Marcella Aquino, principal investigator of the study, agreed that everything starts on the inside of the phone but testing 17 worn and “well-used” models of various BlackBerries found nickel on the surface, including buttons, keyboards, cameras, and speakers.

    The study does not link any person with “cellphone dermatitis” to any BlackBerry product.

    Dr. Luz Fonacier, co-author of the study and ACAAI fellow, said BlackBerry users with “known allergies” should avoid prolonged conversations, text messaging and handling their phones if they begin noticing symptoms.

    Plastic phone cases, wireless ear pieces and clear film screens are also recommended to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction.
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