Nickel, one of the most common allergens in the United States, can be found in things like hand-held devices and jewelry. But unlike Europe, the United States has no restrictions on its widespread use in consumer products. That worries some doctors who say that the growing use of mobile and hand-held devices combined with a lack of regulatory oversight could lead to a spike in allergic reactions.
"I am absolutely concerned about it," said Stephen P. Stone, the director of clinical research in dermatology at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and the former president of the American Academy of Dermatology.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 10 to 20 percent of the population is allergic to nickel. The reactions can be unpleasant, but not fatal. Typically they include blistering, redness and dry skin.