Mobile Phones comply with nickel rules

The majority of mobile phones sold on the Danish Market comply with the nickel rules. Only 1 of the 27 mobile phones tested release more nickel than the limit. This is the result of spot testing carried out by the Chemical Inspection Service under the Danish EPA. The illegal mobile phone was withdrawn from the market in February.

The Chemical Inspection Service selected 27 mobile phones from 10 different stores and importers in the metropolitan area in November and December 2009. This has been the first control of the mobile phone market. The control was carried out on the basis of a limited survey which the EPA performed in the spring of 2009. At the time, 20 per cent of the mobile phones released too much nickel.

A large part of the mobile phones selected for control were newer versions of the phones which were part of the survey in the spring of 2009. None of these newer models release nickel.

“The share of mobile phones with nickel has dropped from 20 to 4 per cent. This is a great improvement which shows that the mobile phone manufacturers have taken the problem with nickel allergy seriously. I am very pleased with the result”, says Deputy Director Anne-Marie Rasmussen of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The testing shows that the mobile phone industry complies with the nickel rules. In January 2009, the EU made clear that the nickel rules also apply to mobile phones. This interpretation was established once Denmark had raised the issue in the EU. The Danish Minister for the Environment and the EPA have since had an ongoing dialogue with the industry in order to call attention to the nickel rules. The industry has reacted positively to the dialogue, and as it turns out, most of the industry now meets the requirements.

Only a limited number of cases of eczema caused by mobiles have been observed in Denmark, but the full extent of the problem is not known by the EPA. Eczema typically appears by the ear and on the cheek but it can spread if the exposure to nickel is not stopped.

EPA has a number of tips for you regarding nickel and mobiles:

Request mobiles which do not release nickel
Test your mobile phone with a nickel test bought at the pharmacy or a chemical supplier. If the cotton bud turns red, the phone releases too much nickel.
Use headset to avoid skin contact.
Stop using the mobile phone if your skin becomes red or irritated.
For further information please contact:

Søren Jakobsen, Head of Section, the Chemical Inspection Service, the Danish EPA, telephone +45 72 54  45 11

Anette Ejersted, Head of Function, the Danish EPA Chemicals, Phone +45 72 54 43 28