Agencies issue warnings on exploding cell phone batteries

| Monday, May 16, 2005

As if truckers didn’t have enough to worry about already, now comes a new warning from the federal government about the potential dangers of exploding cell phone batteries.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 83 people have either been burned or injured from explosions caused by defective cell phone batteries.

Though that number is relatively low in relation to the overall number of cell phone users, the commission, along with the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, decided it was enough to warrant a warning.

Officials said that most incidents occur as a result of counterfeit or incompatible Lithium-ion batteries – the most common type of cell phone battery – and cautioned consumers against using Internet sites and second-hand dealers to purchase batteries.

In a joint news release issued on May 13, the groups made the following recommendations for cell phones with Lithium-ion batteries:

  • Do not use incompatible cell-phone batteries and chargers;
  • Do not permit a battery out of the phone to contact metal objects, such as coins, keys or jewelry;
  • Do not crush, puncture or put a high degree of pressure on the battery as this can cause an internal short-circuit, resulting in overheating;
  • Avoid dropping a cell phone;
  • Do not place a phone in areas that may get very hot, such as on or near a cooking surface, cooking appliance, iron or radiator;
  • Don’t get your phone battery wet; and
  • Follow battery usage, storage and charging guidelines in the users guide.

In addition, the two groups are teaming with the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers to come up with industry-wide standards for cell phones.

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