The Zoomer Report: BlackBerry Allergy

Do you use a BlackBerry or an iPhone? Research from the U.S. shows that a smartphone may be the healthier pick for people with allergies.

Nickel used in the production of the BlackBerry has been found on the device’s buttons and keyboards, where it could cause an allergic reaction such as dry, itchy skin, according to 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 says cases of “cellphone dermatitis” are being diagnosed.

Researchers told the conference that one-third of the study’s BlackBerries tested positive for nickel while iPhone and Android devices came up clean.

RIM said in a statement that all cellphones have nickel inside them, but the company found no nickel exposure on the surface of new BlackBerry smartphones.”

The researchers say they tested worn and “well-used” models of various BlackBerries and found nickel on the surface, including buttons, keyboards, cameras, and speakers.

They recommend BlackBerry users with “known allergies” should avoid prolonged conversations, and text messaging 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.

Photo ©iStockphoto.com/ serts

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Libby ZnaimerAbout The Zoomer Report
Libby Znaimer, a prominent Canadian journalist specializing in business, politics, and lifestyle issues, is producer and host of The Zoomer Report, a special feature on topics of interest to baby boomers and the 50+. It covers everything from health and wealth to leisure and volunteerism, from the special vantage point of the generation that has changed society in its wake.

Ms. Znaimer is also Vice-President of News and Information for Classical 96.3FM and AM740. Her first book, “In Cancerland – Living Well Is The Best Revenge” – was published in October 2007 by Key Porter.