The iPad is a potential source of nickel allergy reactions, say pediatricians who suggest parents choose a metal-free cover for the electronics.
Allergic contact dermatitis is becoming more common in children, especially nickel, dermatologists say. In Monday’s issue of the journal Pediatrics, doctors in the U.S. describe the case of an 11-year-old boy with dermatitis that didn’t respond to standard ointment.
He tested positive in a skin patch test for nickel allergy. At an avoidance counselling session, doctors became aware that the family had bought a first-generation iPad in 2010 and that the patient was using it more frequently.
After covering his iPad and avoiding nickel, including through diet, the dermatitis improved significantly for five months, Dr. Sharon Jacob of Loma Linda University in California and Dr. Shehla Admani of the dermatology department at the University of California, San Diego, said.
Allergic reactions to Apple laptops and iPhones have been reported, but the iPad hasn’t come up as a potential source of nickel sensitization in children before, the researchers said.
They suggested patients could reduce contact between skin and devices either by using a case or cover that is nickel-free or simply applying duct tape to create a barrier.
Doctors should also consider "metallic-appearing electronics and personal effects" as potential sources of nickel exposure, Jacob and Admani said.
In 2008, dermatologists warned, people who use their cellphones for long periods may develop a rash on their ears or cheeks.
It is not clear whether all iPad models and other Apple devices contain nickel. Apple spokesman Chris Gaither said the company had no comment.