Beyond Peanut Butter

Article excerpt

Byline: Kate Dailey

Schools looking to ban cell phones may have a new excuse: a growing number of people are developing an allergy to metal in the devices. We all know that food allergies are on the rise--a study last year placed the rate at 1 per 70 children, compared with 1 in 250 in the 1970s. But at last month's meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, allergists reported that many substances that once seemed innocuous are now leading to allergic reactions too.

Allergies can develop when young bodies come into contact with a new substance, and an increasing number of kids have early exposure to tech tools and "adult" products that can lead to a lifetime of reactions. For instance, the nickel hardware often used on phone trim and faceplates can lead to red, itchy skin where the phone is pressed against the face of someone who developed a nickel allergy at a young age. It's especially problematic for women, says Luz Fonacier, an allergist who presented at the conference. Young girls are often first exposed to nickel when they get their ears pierced, and therefore are more likely to develop a sensitivity to the metal that can cause allergic reactions later on. …