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Recently, allergies from personal electronic devices, including cellphones, laptops and tablets, were discussed in the medical journal Pediatrics. It is believed that the metallic casing of these electronic devices contain nickel which may cause skin allergy.

Nickel is one of the most common allergy-inducing metals. The allergic symptoms include scaly patches and even itchy rash all over the body. The risk of allergy arises from prolonged skin contact with nickel-containing devices. A variety of advance electronic consumer goods such as smart watch, electronic bracelet, tablet, and smart phones with metallic parts intended to come into contact with the skin are subject to nickel release concerns. EU Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (REACH) has stated the regulatory limit of nickel release from consumer article intended to come into direct and prolonged contact with the skin (Table 1). According to the regulation, articles should be tested according to international standards adopted by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN).

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Table 1 - reach requirements of nickel released from article

Sample natureregulatory LIMITStesting standard
Post assemblies which are inserted into pierced parts of the human body 0.2 μg/cm2/week

Sample with coating:

EN 1811:2011

Sample with nickel coating:

EN 1811:2011

Sample with non-nickel coating:

EN 12472:2005 + EN 1811:2011 

Articles intended to come into direct and prolonged contact with the skin 0.5 μg/cm2/week