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iPad, other devices may cause allergic rash

By Lindsey Tanner

AP Medical Writer

LAST UPDATED: 09:26 a.m. HST, Jul 14, 2014

CHICAGO >> Unexplained rash? Check your iPad. It turns out the popular tablet computer may contain nickel, one of the most common allergy-inducing metals.

Recent reports in medical journals detail nickel allergies from a variety of personal electronic devices, including laptops and cellphones. But it was an Apple iPad that caused an itchy body rash in an 11-year-old boy recently treated at a San Diego hospital, according to a report in Monday's Pediatrics.

Nickel rashes aren't life-threatening but they can be very uncomfortable, and they may require treatment with steroids and antibiotics if the skin eruptions become infected, said Dr. Sharon Jacob, a dermatologist at Rady Children's Hospital, where the boy was treated. Jacob, who co-wrote the report, said the young patient had to miss school because of the rash.

The boy discussed in the Pediatrics report had a common skin condition that causes scaly patches, but he developed a different rash all over his body that didn't respond to usual treatment. Skin testing showed he had a nickel allergy, and doctors traced it to an iPad his family had bought in 2010.

Doctors tested the device and detected a chemical found in nickel in the iPad's outside coating.

"He used the iPad daily," Jacob said.

He got better after putting it in a protective case, she said

Whether all iPad models and other Apple devices contain nickel is uncertain; Apple spokesman Chris Gaither said the company had no comment.

People with existing nickel allergies are at risk for rashes from nickel-containing devices. According to an advisory about cellphones on the website of the Nickel Institute, a global association based in Toronto representing nickel producers, the risk arises from contact with nickel-plated outer surfaces "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 says.

Nickel rashes also have been traced to other common products including some jewelry, eyeglass frames and zippers.

Jacob said evidence suggests nickel allergies are become more common, or increasingly recognized. She cited national data showing that about 25 percent of children who get skin tests for allergies have nickel allergies, versus about 17 percent a decade ago.

She said doctors need to consider electronic devices as potential sources when patients seek treatment for skin rashes.


Online: Pediatrics: http://www.pediatrics.org

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fstop wrote:
"Doctors tested the device and detected a chemical found in nickel in the iPad's outside coating."

This makes no sense. Nickel is an element and contains no "chemicals".

on July 14,2014 | 05:16AM
kiragirl wrote:
Chemistry 101? Very good.
on July 14,2014 | 05:54AM
saveparadise wrote:
Work is not a chemical and yet many are allergic. Makes no sense?
on July 14,2014 | 09:12AM
localguy wrote:
Most likely Apple did not use pure nickel, an alloy. Notice how Apple refused to comment, meaning they did not see this one coming and are scrambling to find a way to spin the problem as caused by Samsung. Apple has been going down hill for years.
on July 14,2014 | 03:22PM
cojef wrote:
Have been using the i-Pad with the retina display model every morning after breakfast, sipping home roasted coffee and watching the TV simultaneously, which is from 15 to 30 minutes. After this session proceed to the den and open the laptop and read the StarAdvertiser. Guess I must be immune to nickel poisoning.
on July 14,2014 | 07:39AM
honopic wrote:
Too bad you're not immune to telling us every little detail of your life. I, for one, am not interested in your morning routine or where you grew up on Kauai. TMI.
on July 14,2014 | 09:35AM
localguy wrote:
He also uses it while sitting and doing his business in the bathroom. Glad he spared us from this tidbit of his life.
on July 14,2014 | 03:23PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Only one known case so far, so maybe we need to have the FBI check if any of this boy's relatives work for Google.
on July 14,2014 | 09:13AM
Lanaiboy wrote:
What do you know. I have been sensitive to metal all my life. My skin broke out in a rash whenever it came in contact with metal. For example, I got my first glasses using a metal frame. Skin broke out in rash. Later the area was infected with boils. Now I purchase only plastic frames. In the Army my neck broke out with rash when I had to wear dog tags around my neck. Put plastic tubings around the dog tags; problem solved. Now in my seventies, I still have this problem. Went on a long vacation to Europe; got rash on my wrists by wearing a wristwatch for long periods of time. Perhaps, I am not allergic to metal in general but only nickel in particular per this article. That would make sense.
on July 14,2014 | 10:23AM
stanmanley wrote:
I've seen women holding their Iphone in their brassiere.
on July 14,2014 | 10:32AM
Kapcity wrote:
Made in China.
on July 14,2014 | 11:16AM
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