Some studies have identified mobile phones and related devices as sources of metal sensitization and potential causes of allergic contact dermatitis (ACD). The belief is that 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.
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 literature on mobile phone dermatitis in both children and adults. Nickel sensitization is common in children, they find, resulting in ACD prevalence levels of up to 33%.
This information could be important for practitioners when evaluating patients with dermatitis of the face, neck, hands, breast, or anterior thighs—common places exposed to cell phones.
The authors say their work is an important diagnostic tool for practitioners and strategies to raise awareness of nickel- or chromium-induced mobile phone ACD.
"With the rising use of cell phones and other mobile devices, pediatricians can expect to see additional cases of ACD," says Editor-in-Chief Mary Cataletto, MD, Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, State University of New York at Stony Brook (Stony Brook, NY) and practicing pediatric pulmonologist at Winthrop University Hospital. "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."