Nickel finishes that are used to manufacture some of the most often used electronic devices, such as iPad tablets, can cause skin allergies, according to a report published by the journal Pediatrics. The publication studied the case of a small 11-year-old boy in San Diego (California, USA) whose allergic reaction was directly related to the use of the Apple tablet, which caused rashes and itching. Questions have surfaced regarding the popular tablet's safety in children.

Allergic reactions to nickel are fatal, but can be very annoying and even require treatment with steroids and antibiotics if they become infected, said Sharon Jacob, a dermatologist at Rady Children's Hospital, where the child was treated. "He used the iPad on a daily basis," said the doctor, who also said the boy had to miss school because of allergies. Jacob explained that the child was suffering from a common disease of the skin characterized by the appearance of skin scales, but also developed a different rash all over the body not responding to standard treatment. 

Dermatological tests showed the boy had a nickel allergy, and doctors concluded that the reaction went back exactly to the time that his family had purchased the iPad in 2010. The report from Pediatrics warns that allergies to this metal, used in many products, also on smartphones and computers, are becoming more common, and refers to U.S. Census data which indicate that the percentage of children with allergic reactions to nickel is now at 25 percent, while a decade ago it was at just 17 percent.