Cell Phones Can Cause Allergic Reactions

Cell Phone in HandFor some individuals, cell phones may be a source of metal sensitization and a potential cause of allergic contact dermatitis (ACD), says a new study published in the journal Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonology.

Many cell phones and other similar electronic devices contain and release metals such as such as nickel and chromium. Certain metals including nickel and chromium can cause ACD.

For the present study, researchers led by Jacob Thyssen, MD, PhD, Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, and University of Arizona College of Medicine reviewed the current literature on cell phone dermatitis in both children and adults.

The researchers note that nickel sensitization is common in children, resulting in ACD prevalence levels of up to 33 percent. The researchers additionally conclude that nickel release from cell phones appears common and has been reported in both cheap and expensive mobile phones.

In addition to nickel, the researchers also discovered that cell phones can release chromium, another common allergen.

Comments Editor-in-Chief Mary Cataletto, MD, Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, State University of New York at Stony Brook and practicing pediatric pulmonologist at Winthrop University Hospital:

“With the rising use of cell phones and other mobile devices, pediatricians can expect to see additional cases of ACD. Thyssen’s paper discusses diagnostic patch testing for common metal allergens and the value of spot testing of the patient’s phone in establishing a causal relationship.”

The researchers recommend patch testing for common metal allergens and spot testing of cell phones when evaluating patients with dermatitis of the face, neck, hands, breasts, or anterior thighs.


Mobile Phone Dermatitis in Children and Adults: A Review of the Literature:
Some Allergic Reactions May Be Caused by Mobile Phones:

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