Study shows RIM BlackBerry materials could harm your health

More bad news for embattled smartphone maker Research in Motion, with a new study highlighting the potential health risks of some of the materials used in its BlackBerry smartphones.

The study, presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), investigated the presence of two common contact allergens, cobalt and nickel, in mobile phones.

The ACAAI is a US-based professional medical organisation with a membership of more than 5,700 allergists, immunologists and allied health professionals.

The research notes that allergies triggered by contact to nickel affect 17% of women and 3% of men, with symptoms from prolonged contact including redness, swelling, itching, eczema, blistering, skin lesions and occasional scarring.

The study reveals around one in three RIM BlackBerry devices tested positive for the potential allergens, which were not found in Apple’s iPhone or Android smartphones from major manufacturers.

The good news is that, aside from RIM, the mobile phone industry has cleaned up its act over recent years, with the report noting that 91% of older flip featurephones contain nickel and 52% testing positive for cobalt.

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