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BlackBerrys rife with allergens: Study

Written by: QMI Agency
Nov. 9, 2012

Research in Motion (RIM) BlackBerry smartphone handsets are pictured in this illustration picture taken in Lavigny, Switzerland in this July 21, 2012 file photo. (REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud/Files)


Scientists with the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology tested popular smartphone brands for two common allergens: cobalt and nickel.

"Both metals can cause an allergic reaction including dry, itchy patches along the cheek bones, jaw line and ears," lead author Dr. Tania Mucci said in a press release.

About a third of BlackBerrys tested contained nickel. Androids and iPhones, however, came out clean.

"Patients with nickel and cobalt allergies should consider using iPhones or Droids to reduce the chance of having an allergic reaction," co-author Dr. Luz Fonacier said. "BlackBerry users with known allergies should avoid prolonged conversations, text messaging and handling their phones if they begin noticing symptoms."

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But Research in Motion, the Canadian company that makes BlackBerrys, said their product is up to standard.

"All of our devices adhere to rigorous testing processes to ensure that we deliver products of the highest possible standard and quality," the company said in a statement. "Allergic reactions to nickel occur if it is found on the outside of a phone. We test our phones against EU test protocol EN 1811 and have found no nickel exposure on the exterior surface of any newly purchased BlackBerry smartphone."

But any smartphone is an improvement over old-style flip phones. Roughly tested, 91% contained nickel and 52% contained cobalt.

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