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CHICAGO — The Associated Press – Unexplained rash? Check your iPad. It turns out the popular tablet computer may contain nickel, one of the most common allergy-inducing metals.
Recent reports in medical journals detail nickel allergies from a variety of personal electronic devices, including laptops and cellphones. But it was an Apple iPad that caused an itchy body rash in an 11-year-old boy recently treated at a San Diego hospital, according to a report in Monday’s Pediatrics.
Nickel rashes aren’t life-threatening but they can be very uncomfortable, and they may require treatment with steroids and antibiotics if the skin eruptions become infected, said Dr. Sharon Jacob, a dermatologist at Rady Children’s Hospital, where the boy was treated. Jacob, who co-wrote the report, said the young patient had to miss school because of the rash.
The boy discussed in the Pediatrics report had a common skin condition that causes scaly patches, but he developed a different rash all over his body that didn’t respond to usual treatment. Skin testing showed he had a nickel allergy, and doctors traced it to an iPad his family had bought in 2010.
Doctors tested the device and detected a chemical found in nickel in the iPad’s outside coating.
“He used the iPad daily,” Jacob said.
He got better after putting it in a protective case, she said.
Whether all iPad models and other Apple devices contain nickel is uncertain; Apple spokesman Chris Gaither said the company had no comment.
Microsoft also declined to comment on whether its devices contain nickel, said spokeswoman Ryan Bartholomew.
Amy Storey, a spokeswoman for CTIA-The Wireless Association trade group, said nickel isn’t widely used in the industry’s products’ outer coatings because it can block radio-frequency signals from reaching the devices. She said she didn’t know which makers use it.
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