Is a Blackberry bad for your health?

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Allergy sufferers beware - Blackberry phones may be worse for your health than an iPhone or Android phone.

Scientists at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) examined popular smartphones for their use of two common allergens, cobalt and nickel.

"Approximately one-third of all Blackberrys contain nickel, but neither cobalt nor nickel was detected in iPhones or Droids," says allergist Tania Mucci. "Both metals can cause an allergic reaction including dry, itchy patches along the cheek bones, jaw line and ears."

Of the less-popular flip phone models, roughly 91 percent contained nickel and 52 percent tested positive for cobalt. While these metals are commonly used in items such as jewelry, coins and even makeup, nickel is one of the most common contact allergens, affecting 17 percent of women and three percent of men.

Symptoms can include redness, swelling, itching, eczema, blistering, skin lesions - and even occasional scarring.

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

For sufferers that really are glued to their phones, ACAAI advises opting for plastic phone cases, wireless ear pieces and clear film screens.