Are You Allergic To Your Phone?

iPhone 2g, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4

A new study analyzed cellular phone models for  two common allergens; cobalt and nickel. With the expanded use of cell phones, allergists are reporting a rise in face rashes and contact dermatitis triggered by nickel and cobalt found in the phones. Symptoms are skin redness, itching, dry, itchy patches, swelling, even blistering and lesions where the metal makes contact with the skin. An allergic person can even develop post inflammatory  hyperpigmentation (darkened skin) and scarring.

The test results revealed the presence of both metals in many flip-phones. Among the smart phones the Blackberry was the only one found to contain nickel. “None of the iPhones or Androids tested positive for either metal”, said researcher Luz Fonacier, MD, of Winthrop University Hospital of New York Stony Brook.

The nickel was found mostly in worn out, torn, and heavily used keypads. Using an earpiece or cover could prove effective in ensuring minimum contact with the device. In case of severe  allergic reactions, consider replacing your current phone with one containing no nickel. iPhones or Droids may be a better choice to reduce the chances of an allergic reaction. “Blackberry users  allergic to those particular metals should avoid prolonged conversations, text messaging and handling their phone as soon as they begin feeling symptoms”, said Fonacier.

Phone manufacturers take steps to design the phones with no exposed nickel on the exterior surface.

Mobile phones however should not take all the blame for these allergies. The metals are used in computers, and are also common in jewelry, coins and makeup, according to the researchers.

“Nickel is commonly used in electronic parts for soldering and plating and is found inside all smartphones. However, this only becomes a concern for customers with known nickel allergies when a pure nickel or high nickel content material is exposed on the smartphone’s surface then comes into contact with the skin. Research In Motion (RIM) takes careful steps to design all Blackberry smartphones with no exposed nickel on the exterior surface” says Krista Seggewiss a company spokeswoman at Research In Motion , which makes Blackberries.

“Even the best phones from our study are still loaded with chemical hazards” said Jeff Gearhart, research director at the Ecology Center and founder of

“These chemicals, which are linked to birth defects, impaired learning and other serious health problems, have been found in soils at levels 10 to 100 times higher than background levels at e-waste recycling sites in China. We need better federal regulation of these chemicals, and we need to create incentives for the design of greener consumer electronics.”

AccordiImage representing iPhone as depicted in to another study, the least toxic phones were the LG Remark, the iPhone 4S, the Samsung Captivate, the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Evergreen. Usually, the older phones were more toxic then the newer. The best average ratings were given for the Samsung phones.

The most effort and improvement to remove toxic chemicals from their phones were made by Apple. In the study the iPhone 2G was the most toxic, but the iPhone 4S and 5 showed up near the top of the least toxic phone list.

The least toxic phone on the market out of 36 types of commonly used mobile phones was the Motorola Circus – according to the study completed by and

Phone manufacturers still use a range of hazardous materials such as lead, bromine, chlorine, mercury and cadmium. These materials can have a serious impact on our health. For example, mercury can cause garstointestinal tract, nervous system and kidney damages, as well as neurological impairment in children. Another harmful chemical is n-Hexane, mixed with solvents for a variety of uses including the cleaning of glass,  has poisoned electronic factory workers in China during cellphone production.

“Americans throw away 130 million cell phones each year and only 8 % of them are recycled properly” – according to English: Mobile phone scrap, old decomissioned...There are no laws yet on the books for 32 states in the United States which would ban the disposal of electronics in incinerators or landfields.

These harmful chemicals can get into the soil and water due to improper recycling of mobile phones. Emission during disposal and recycling of phones and computers as electronic waste or e-waste is a growing problem.

Related Websites

To learn more about how to recycle your electronics:

Phone recyclers:

Find rechargeable battery and cell phone recycle locations near you.

Find local recyclers and read their useful information about recycling and e-waste crisis.

On their website you can request a free UPS shipping label. They also have a buy back program for your old phone.


An Outlook: Colon Cancer And Allergy

English: Micrograph of a colorectal adenocarci...

Micrograph of a colorectal adenocarcinoma metastasis to a lymph node, also lymph node metastasis. The cancer (forming glands) is seen at the centre-top. Adipose tissue is present on the upper right.

A new research suggests that people who suffer from hay fever and asthma are at lower risk of colon cancer. Before we know more about this research, let us first know about these health conditions.

Colon cancer (or colorectal cancer): It is an uncontrolled growth of cells affecting areas of colon, large intestine, rectum, or in the appendix. Rectal bleeding and thin (thread-like) stools are typical symptoms of colon cancer. Age, certain diseases (such as ulcerative colitis) and genetic causes contribute to it.

Allergy: In some people, there can be an “unusual” sensitivity towards a normally harmless material that induces a strong reaction by the person. Typical allergies are related to certain food or medication, smell and exposure to skin. Atopy is the medical word that describes the state of allergy, where there is a tendency to react to allergens, as in hay fever and asthma. 

Hay fever is an allergic inflammation that occurs in the nasal airways. It is caused by grass pollens or plant pollens (pollinosis). Hay fever is not caused by hay and does not exhibit symptoms of fever. 

Asthma: Asthma is a disease affecting the respiratory system, caused usually by allergies. It has symptoms of coughing, tight feeling in the chest and sudden difficulty in breathing. 

Does hay fever and asthma affect colon cancer ? 

A recent study finds that people who suffer both from hay fever and asthma are at lesser risk of colon cancer. The study reports that people suffering from both, hay fever and asthma, were 17% less likely to acquire colon cancer compared to people who had neither of the two conditions. People having either of the two conditions had little reduction in their risk of colon cancer. The finding is according to data presented at the 11th Annual AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, held in Anaheim, California, October 16-19, 2012.

Hay fever and asthma are diseases that are related to allergic responses of the body, and this new theory says that they also affect the allergic response towards colon cancer cells. More research is ongoing with this new finding, and if a natural immune response can prevent some colorectal cancers, vaccines can be made to treat and prevent them.

This new finding may help us in the development of vaccine for the treatment of colon cancer, and for that it needs to be understood the factors that affects and lowers the risk of colon cancer, e.g. how the immune system is responsive towards cancer cells in such cases. Exercising regularly and a healthy diet might help people to improve their immune system response to prevent cancer.

Why Global Warming Makes Allergies even worse?

Temperature predictions from some climate mode...

Global warming and allergies are certainly linked together based upon scientific studies done on weeds, trees and grasses in recent years. As the temperature of the planet continues to rise, undoubtedly the amount of pollen will increase as well.

All over the world, people suffer from seasonal allergies on a regular basis. Not too long ago, people could predict when certain allergy seasons would occur, and could prepare accordingly. Now, for seemingly unknown reasons, allergy seasons are by far more potent than ever before. Recent studies have shown that pollen counts are higher, and allergy seasons seem to be longer than they have ever been in history.

Some theory blame the man-made increases in greenhouse gases which are responsible for warming the oceans by melting the polar ice cups, as well as the increase of global temperatures, freakish weather such as hurricanes and tsunamis and the increase growth of various plants(such as trees, weeds and grasses),all refer to as climate change.

Others are convinced that climate change in an inevitable cycle that the earth goes through and there is not man related. Anyway, there are measurable changes in the earth’s climate, which were responsible for the significant increase in allergic diseases in the past few decades.

Global warming has led to longer and warmer seasons, causing the trees and grasses to flower much earlier, thus more pollen is released at an earlier time. Some studies have shown that the season begins up to two weeks earlier and last longer than in previous decades. The increased pollen and mold spore counts increase the sensitization to allergy and will increase the allergy symptoms in those who already suffer from allergic diseases. Higher pollutant levels likely to cause worsening of asthma symptoms in affected people. Many studies have shown that with the rise in average daily temperatures, there is a rise in the rate of asthma and asthma symptoms. On days when pollen and mold count are higher, there is an increased emergency room visits for asthma.

The allergic rhinitis incidence in the United States population increased dramatically from 10 to 30 percent over the past 40 years. Similar increases were observed in westernized countries as Canada, and the rate of allergic rhinitis is expected to increase by 40% in Japan by 2050.

The global warming and allergy relation in not limited to seasonal allergies. The warming climate is also spreading the growing range of allergy-inducing plants into new areas of the world. Climate change means allergy season can last longer. Hotter summers make disease-carrying insects more active, for longer seasons; illnesses like West Nile, and Lyme are able to spread into new areas. Hotter weather reduces water supply and quality and diminishes food security. Heavy rains increase risk of drinking water contamination and illness.

Ragweed is one of the primary producers of pollen during the fall allergy seasons. Since 1995, the duration of this allergy season has increased by over 30 days, primarily in parts of North America.

Latest study pointed out that the excess CO2 now in the atmosphere stimulates the allergy-inducing ragweed to produce 60 percent more pollen. Scientists have found that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere that have increased steadily over the last several decades may be to blame. Carbon dioxide level has increased by more than 20 % since 1960. Not only do the increased levels of CO2 cause the ragweed to produce greater amounts of pollen, it has been shown that it is much more potent than ever before, leaving allergy sufferers in more agony year after year.

What You Can Do

Global warming is something that is ongoing, and because of this, those that suffer from allergies need to learn how to adapt. Check daily pollen reports and ozone quality conditions especially on sunny, clear, windless late summer days when ozone conditions usually high. If you have distinct breathing problems caused by pollen producing weeds, trees, or grasses, it is best to stay indoors on days where pollen content in the air is at its highest. Air quality conditions are posted daily by many services, giving you the information when it is best to go outside, and when you should stay in. When pollen and ozone levels are high better to stay indoors, keep windows closed. Take shower and wash bedding and outdoor clothing frequently, vacuum regularly using vacuum cleaner with high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) filter.

You should also consider talking to your local physician, as they will have certain remedies that can help you deal with the higher pollen amounts.

New Target Discovered To Treat Food Allergy

English: Structure of the PIM1 protein. Based ...

Structure of the PIM1 protein.

Researchers have discovered a new target towards food allergy treatment announced in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The finding shows that the level of a small intestine enzyme called “Pim1 kinase” is higher in mice that suffer from peanut allergy. Blocking activity of Pim1 seems to reduce the allergic response to peanuts.

According to recent statistics, around 4% of Americans suffer from food allergy. Symptoms can range from hives, vomiting, difficulty breathing to the severe anaphylaxis. Consuming peanuts, their proteins enter into the bloodstream via the intestines and cause an immune response those who have peanut allergy.

Dr. Erwin Gelfand, chair of pediatrics at National Jewish Health says, “Pim1, and its associated transcription factor, Runx3 mRNA, play a crucial role in allergic reactions to peanuts”.

Dr. Gelfand’s laboratory research has shown that the Pim1 increases upon allergen sensitization and is responsible for the downregulation of Runx3. The study shows in mice that the upregulation of Runx3 can be alter by inhibiting Pim1 kinase. This strategy essentially reduce allergic reaction in mice.

PIM-1 kinase contributes to several signaling pathways and is expressed in T cells and eosinophils, type of cells associated with allergic diseases. Runx3 is linked with the regulation of T cells.

Allergic mice, that consumed peanuts, had increased levels of Pim1 enzyme in their intestines, as well as higher levels of inflammatory cells, and cytokine molecules that are associated to allergies. However, levels of Runx3 were dropped significantly in the allergic mice. When researchers administered a small molecule called AR460770, the activity of PIM-1 kinase was blocked and mice did not experience diarrhea and other peanut allergy related symptoms.

The main culprit of allergic reaction is the enhanced level of  histamine in the plasma. After administration of AR460770, made by Array Biophama, the histamine level fell to about baseline levels and Runx3 mRNA increased almost back to baseline levels. Upregulating Runx3 by targeting Pim1 kinase represent a new way for treating allergic diseases.

Our data identified for the first time that Pim1 kinase contributes in important ways to the development of peanut-induced allergic responses. Targeting this novel regulatory axis involving Pim1 kinase and Runx3 offers new therapeutic opportunities for the control of food-induced allergic reactions.”- said Dr. Gelfand.