Mobile Phone
Excess use of the cell phones can trigger allergic reactions, a new study says.Nana B Agyei/Flickr

Excess use of the cell phones can trigger allergic reactions, a new study says.

Researchers found that certain metals commonly used in the manufacturing of mobile phones, like nickel and chromium, posed allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) risk in both adults and children. Allergic contact dermatitis is a type of skin inflammation that occurs when the skin comes into contact with certain materials.

For the study, Dr Jacob Thyssen from the Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte, Denmark and colleagues reviewed published data available on mobile phone-induced dermatitis in children and adults. The research team found a total of 37 cases of ACD caused by mobile phone use, and another six studies that analysed allergen release from mobile phones.

Researchers found a sudden increase in the number of mobile phone-related ACD cases since 2000 and also noticed that nickel was being released from mobile phones, irrespective of their price range. Exposure to mobile phones caused allergic reactions on the face, neck, hands and breast.

"With the rising use of cell phones and other mobile devices, pediatricians can expect to see additional cases of ACD," Mary Cataletto, a professor of clinical pediatrics at State University of New York, said in a news release. "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 study, reported in Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonology, comes at a time when nearly one-third of the total world population, to say, six billion people use mobile phones. Many studies in the past have also succeeded in amassing solid evidence to prove that excessive cell phone use can lead to poor sleep, brain cancer, infertility in men, depression and addiction.

Apart from all this, the popularity of mobile phones and the introduction of new models pose a serious threat to the environment.

Most of the mobile phones or accessories contain toxic heavy metals like lead, nickel, zinc, mercury, manganese, lithium, arsenic, antimony, copper and beryllium. These metals do not get easily destroyed in the environment and can contaminate soil and water and cause health problems, according to ARP, Australia's first mobile phone recycling program.