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EMF Studies

10 July 2015

Apple Feeling the Burn: Watch Wearers Take to Twitter to Share Photos of Rashes 'Caused by the Device'

Apple feeling the burn: Watch wearers take to Twitter to share photos of rashes 'caused by the device'
by Sarah Griffiths, Daily Mail online, 9 July 2015

- Handful of people have shared photos of rashes and 'burns' on Twitter
- They say they are caused by wearing the Apple Watch
- Apple has not yet commented on the images, but its support page warns some people may react to materials such as nickel, used in its timepiece

The Apple Watch may be used by many as a fitness aid, but some users are feeling the burn in a less desirable way.

A handful of people have taken to Twitter to share photos of 'burn' marks and rashes on their wrists, which they say are the result of wearing an Apple Watch.

Apple warns on its webiste that 'a small number of people will experience reactions to certain materials,' but has so far not commented on the recent photos.

An iOS App developer named Dinalli tweeted: 'Not worn my Apple Watch today, yet there seems to be some sort of burn. Anyone else got this too ? '

While a more excitable user called Andrew Terry tweeted: 'wtf? My Apple Watch has burnt a hole in my wrist!!' and posted an image of red marks and a sore on his wrist.

Paul Fabretti, who works for Microsoft, wrote: 'So this Apple Watch burn thing is actually a proper, ongoing THING. Happened again,' showing red marks on the sides of his wrist, which appear to have been caused by the strap.

The claims are very few in number, The Australian noted.

Apple has yet to comment on them, but a page on its support site warns a small number of people could react to certain materials used in the Apple Watch.

It says: 'A great deal of care and research go into choosing materials for all our devices...

'A small number of people will experience reactions to certain materials.

'This can be due to allergies, environmental factors, extended exposure to irritants like soap or sweat, and other causes.'

It warns customers that some of the watch straps contain Nickel, which can cause reactions, but said the quantity used falls 'below the strict European REACh regulation. Therefore, while nickel exposure is unlikely to be a problem.'

The watch casing and buckle also contain trace amounts of methacrylades from adhesives.

'Methacrylates are found in many consumer products that come in contact with the skin, such as adhesive bandages,' the support page says.

'Some people may be sensitive to them, or may develop sensitivities over time.

'Apple Watch and its bands are designed so that parts containing methacrylates are not in direct contact with your skin.'

While one user has said that he thinks a sensor could be overheating on the back of his watch, causing a burn, but some people could be experiencing the same problems that occur when wearing a normal watch.

Apple's support page suggests the device could become uncomfortable if it's warn too tightly or loosely.

'An overly tight band can cause skin irritation,' it says. 'A band that's too loose can cause rubbing.'

'If you experience redness, swelling, itchiness, or any other irritation, you may want to consult your physician before you put Apple Watch back on.'

People first complained of the problem in May, with some blaming allergic reactions on the Sport model's band, as well as nickel on the rear of the metal casing.

One user wrote on Reddit: 'I don't wear [my Watch] too tightly, and I make sure it doesn't stay wet after workouts, but I'm definitely dealing with an allergic reaction of some kind.

'I'd hate to not be able to use the Watch, since it's awesome, but the irritation for long periods of time would be way too much to handle - and it's definitely because of the watch.'

First Derm's dermatology expert Dr Dennis Porto explained that allergic contact dermatitis is due to an allergy in a component of the device, in the same way that someone has an allergy to ivy, for example.

An irritant contact dermatitis, however, is caused by soaps, sweat, and water associated with prolonged use of the Watch, especially from the friction caused during exercise.

Around 80 per cent of all contact dermatitis falls into the latter category.

But it appears that it's not only rashes that are putting consumers off the Apple Watch.

Figures suggest the smart timepiece is a flop, with sales falling 90 per cent since the initial surge from early adopters in April.

A report claims the drop has been so dramatic that Apple is now selling less than 20,000 watches a day in the US since its opening week.

According to Slice Intelligence, on certain days, the company has been selling just 10,000 watches, with sales dipping to as low as 4,000 to 5,000 units per day in late June.

This is in contrast to the 200,000 units it sold a day during the week of April 10, when consumers purchased around 1.5 million watches.

It says around two-thirds of the watches sold so far have been the 'Sport' version, which is the cheaper option, with a price tag of $349 (£299).

Only 2,000 of the luxury gold 'Edition' model, priced at $10,000 (£8,000), have been sold in the US, according to figures seen by MarketWatch.

However, Slice's figures are unofficial and based on electronic receipts sent to email addresses following a purchase.

Apple has not publicly revealed Apple Watch sales figures following its launch in April and the company has yet to respond for comment.

Ben Bajarin, principle analyst at Creative Strategies, told The Australian's Chris Griffiths that Slice's report should be taken with a pinch of salt and that it failed to take into account global sales as well as the ebbs and flows of sales in the US market.

He predicts that around five million Apple Watches have been sold in the June quarter.


An Apple support page warns of possible reactions to the watch.

The Apple Watch, the space gray Apple Watch Sport, the stainless steel parts of some Apple Watch bands and the magnets in the watch and bands, all contain nickel.

Apple says they all fall below the strict nickel restrictions set by European REACh regulation meaning nickel exposure is 'unlikely to be a problem'.

But it warns users to be aware of the possibility in case they are susceptible to nickel-related reactions.

The Apple Watch case, the Milanese Loop, the Modern Buckle, and the Leather Loop each contain trace amounts of methacrylates from adhesives.

Methacrylates are used in bandages and plasters, for example, and some people are sensitive to them, or may develop sensitivities over time.

Another reason for the irritation may be wearing the band too tight, or too loose, or not keeping the band clean.

Apple advises people who suffer reactions should consult their doctor before putting the watch back on.


In 2014, Fitbit recalled one million of its Force fitness traker wristbands after consumers complained of rashes, burns and blisters.

The device retails for $130 but within weeks of its launch in November 2013, people started complaining of rashes appearing on their skin underneath the device’s charging port.

In a statement, Fitbit claimed that ‘numerous factors’ may ‘cause skin irritation,’ including sensitivity to the device's stainless steel, which contains nickel, ‘reactions to bacteria that can accumulate in wristbands, or a sensitivity to the material of the band elastomer.’


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