Are allergic reactions from smartphones real?

May 21, 2014 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Is it possible to be allergic to a smartphone? Apparently, studies have identified mobile phones and related devices as sources of metal sensitization and potential causes of allergic contact dermatitis (ACD).

Despite efforts to control allergen release in phones, many phones on the market release levels of metals, such as nickel and chromium, which are sufficient to induce ACD, according to an article in Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonology, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

In the article "Mobile Phone Dermatitis in Children and Adults: A Review of the Literature," a team of researchers led by Jacob Thyssen, MD, PhD, Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte (Hellerup, Denmark), Loma Linda University School of Medicine (Loma Linda, CA), and University of Arizona College of Medicine (Phoenix, AZ), review the current literature on mobile phone dermatitis in both children and adults. Nickel sensitization is common in children, resulting in ACD prevalence levels of up to 33%. The authors provide important diagnostic tips for practitioners and strategies to raise awareness of nickel- or chromium-induced mobile phone ACD.

The article is available free on the Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonology website at