Allergic to Technology

From the recent release of the Apple Watch to the Motorola Moto 360 Watch, wearable technology has been taking the world by storm. There is one little problem, though – what does this mean for our skin?

Many doctors and consumers have been expressing concern that there has not been enough regulation to sufficiently ensure that none of these products will cause allergies and skin reactions – particularly, to nickel. Nickel can be found in everything from hand-held devices to jewelry, and it’s also one of the most common allergens in the country. The Center for Disease Control estimates that about 10 to 20 per cent of the population is allergic to nickel, with reactions including blistering, redness and dry skin.

From our iPads to laptops and smartphones, the presence of nickel we’re exposed to in technology has steadily been on the rise. Without a more concentrated effort to safely evaluate the nickel content in consumer products in the US, we could see an emergence of nickel allergies over time. To date, companies such as Walt Disney, Apple and Fitbit have had to recall their wearable and handheld products due to allergic reactions associated with nickel content.

So, the next time you suddenly develop symptoms associated with nickel allergies – see a clinician and be sure to point out your devices and wearable technology as a potential contributing factor to your reaction. The more exposed to nickel we are, the more likely it is that we’re going to develop a sensitivity to it – so be aware, be informed and take note of nickel content the next time you purchase a gadget!

Source: Adams, Rachel. Nickel Allergies on Rise as Devices Meet Skin. New York Times. 29 AUG 2015.

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