Exploding Mobile Cause Concern

By | November 24, 2004

There has been an alarming increase in the number of exploding cellphones. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has gotten 83 complaints in the last two years about cellphone batteries exploding or causing fires which can result in burns to the face, neck, leg and hip.

The majority of these problems occur when third-party batteries, sold by street vendors or on the Web, are used as instead of the batteries provided by the distributer.The cause of the problem is that some batteries sometimes can´t shut down the power source once it begins to overheat.

This can generate enough heat to melt a phone´s plastic casing and the circuits inside and can even make the phone explode. Some phones have a built in safety mechanism which is triggered by overheating and vents superheated gases in order to avoid an explosion. However these gases themselves are just as dangerous causing bad burns if the mobile is near to the body.

Reports are also saying that the problem may not be limited to third-party batteries. The CPSC has announced three recalls for mobile batteries this year alone. One company, Kyocera Wireless Corp., had to recall 1 million batteries just last month. The head of the Wireless Consumers Alliance, Carl Hilliard, has said that making cellphone smaller and smaller is basically turning them into little bombs that we make calls from.

So how worried should we be about this problem? A total of 83 complaints in two years from the many millions of mobile phone users shows that this is a very rare occurrence. This isn´t something that’s likely to happen to you or anyone you know; you´re probably more likely to be injured in a car crash.

But the fact that these occurrences are increasing as we get smaller, faster and more functional mobile phones could be an indication for the future and Companies need to take note. In fact the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has already started to address this problem by drawing up plans for voluntary design and performance standards for all batteries.

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