As soon as I read this headline, I knew something seemed really familiar about it. Do you remember when the first euro coins were released back in the early 2000s? There were reports of people developing skin rashes that turned out to be caused by the nickel content in the coins. The United Kingdom's NIH found in 2004, "The results show that positive patch test reactions to euro coins can be obtained from nickel-sensitized individuals after 48 h of application to the palmar skin under occlusion. These results do not contradict other experiments in which repeated handling of coins was unable to provoke fingertip allergic contact dermatitis." You might reasonably expect that based on the notoriety of the euro coin issue and the European Central Bank's (ECB) scramble to fix the problem that manufacturers - especially highly experienced ones like Apple - would not make such mistakes. Not so if suspicions are correct that some people - like the 11-year-old boy in the story - are being affected by the nickel content. According to a doctor cited in the article, nickel allergies in children have increased from 17% a decade ago to 25% today, but that result could be attributable entirely to differences in testing methods since the earlier time (although the writer doesn't mention it). Someone later in the week will probably publish a follow-up piece suggesting the increase in nickel allergies in children is due to global warming. So, just to play it safe, if your kid is a licker and he/she has an iPad† or other potentially rash-causing device, you might want to wipe a little of Malava's STOP on it.
• Is the Euro a Rash Move?, The Guardian, December 14, 2001
• Euro Coins "Trigger Allergy," BBC News, September 12, 2002
• High Nickel Release from 1- and 2-EuroCoins: Are There Practical Implications?, National Institute of Health (NIH), 2004
Posted July 14, 2014