July 14, 2014
Element Commonly Used In Apple iPads Causing Allergic Reactions
Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
While the late Steve Jobs was a notorious stickler for design details, one element of the iPad may have gotten by the mercurial tech guru – namely the element nickel, which is known to cause allergic reactions in many people.
According to a new report in the journal Pediatrics published on Monday, an 11-year-old boy was treated at a San Diego hospital recently for an allergic reaction he had to an Apple iPad. The latest report is just one in a series of cases linked to nickel in numerous tech gadgets.
Report author Dr. Sharon Jacob, a dermatologist at Rady Children's Hospital in California, told The Associated Press that allergic reactions to nickel aren’t life-threatening, but can be extremely discomforting and may require treatment if skin reactions become infected.
The allergic reaction in the Pediatrics case initially produced scaly patches on the boy’s skin, but later led to a different kind of reaction that erupted all over his body. This second reaction didn’t respond to the usual treatment. The child’s condition was eventually determined to be a reaction to nickel and traced to a family iPad purchased in 2010.
"He used the iPad daily," Jacob said, adding that placing a protective case around the device led to the child’s symptoms improving.
Apple spokesman Chris Gaither told the AP that the company had no comment when asked if nickel is used to make all iPad models.
According to an advisory about cellphones posted online by the Toronto-based Nickel Institute, the risk of a reaction to nickel comes from contact with the outer surfaces of tech devices "over prolonged periods of time."
"The length of time required to elicit an allergic reaction will vary from 5 or 10 minutes to never, depending on the sensitivity of the individual," the advisory said.
From zippers to eyeglasses, nickel is found in many everyday items and Jacob said nickel allergies are becoming either more common or progressively more recognized. She pointed to national data indicating that about 1-in-4 children who get skin tests for allergies have nickel allergies, compared to about 17 percent a decade ago.
Recent research has been pointing to support for the so-called ‘hygiene hypothesis,’ which says children are more allergic than ever due to growing up on ultra-sanitary conditions. A report published back in June found that infants who are exposed to rodent and pet dander, roach allergens and household bacteria within their first year of life are less likely to contract allergies.