E-mail this page E-mail this



Overcharged

Claim:   Using a cell phone while it is being recharged poses a serious threat of electrocution.

MIXTURE:

FALSE: Using cell phones while they are being recharged poses a general and serious danger of electrocution.
 
TRUE: Cell phone batteries can sometimes explode and/or start fires.

Examples:

[Collected via e-mail, August 2013]

Pass 2 all your contacts. Today again a boy died in Mumbai, Bcoz of attending a call while his mobile was at charge. That time he had sudden vibration 2 his heart & fingers were burnt. So pls don't attend calls while charging ur cel. Pls pas this 2 al whom u care. 1 USEFUL MSG IS BETER than MANY jokes..

Dr Hardik Shah,
CMO, Civil Hospital
Mumbai
 

[Collected via e-mail, September 2004]

Dear All,

I send this message to make you aware of the danger potential of the commonly used cellular phone. A few days ago, this following person was recharging his cellphone at home. Just at that time a call came and he attended to that call with the instrument still connected to the mains. After a few seconds electricity flowed into the cellphone unrestrained and the young man was thrown to the ground with a heavy thud. His parents rushed to the room only to find him unconscious, with weak heartbeats and burnt fingers. He was rushed to the nearby hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Cellphone is a very useful modern invention. However, we must be aware that it can also be an instrument of death. Never use the cellphone while it is hooked to the mains! This is my humble plea.
 

[Collected via e-mail, November 2007]

READ THIS!!!! IMPORTANT FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI HOSPITAL ....VERY SERIOUS WARNING...

Please beware and be fore-warned. Even though I always knew that this is a dangerous habit, I must confess that I had sub-consciously practiced it in the past, so this is also a wake-up call to myself.

Be safe and be blessed.

Never, ever answer a cell phone while it is being RECHARGED!!

A few days ago, a person was recharging his cell phone at home. Just at that time a call Came in and he answered it with the instrument still connected to the outlet. After a few seconds electricity flowed into the cellphone unrestrained and the young man was thrown to the ground with a heavy thud. As you can see, the phone actually exploded. His parents rushed to the room only to find him unconscious, with a weak heartbeat and burnt fingers. He was rushed to the nearby hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival. Cell phones are a very useful modern invention. However, we must be aware that it can also be an instrument of death.

Click to enlarge Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge Click to enlarge
 

Variations:  
  • The deceased is variously described as "this following person" or "a close relative of mine."
  • Some of the e-mails are signed "Dr. D. Suresh Kumar R&D."
  • March 2010 versions claimed the "University of Miami Hospital" had issued this warning.
Origins:   Though it is possible these could be two separate items, the e-mails quoted above appear to be retellings of an 11 August 2004 news story out of Chavara, India. According to articles by the Press Trust of India (a news agency) and the New Indian Express (a newspaper), K. Viswajith was electrocuted when he answered his cell phone while it was plugged in for recharging.

The news articles contained no information about the type of cell phone or what caused it to electrocute its owner. However, given the lack of other accounts of similar
accidents in the press, it is reasonable to conclude that (if the incident reported in the news accounts actually took place) the problem was specific to Viswajith's phone. One sole occurrence points to a manufacturing defect in a particular unit, not to all mobile phones being capable of dealing death blows while recharging.

(In July 2013 the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that a 23-year-old woman from the Xinjiang region had been electrocuted when she took a call on iPhone 5 while it was being charged, but information about that case is scant and whether the incident actually took place as reported has not yet been confirmed.)

Manufacturing standards vary from country to country, so it should not be assumed all cell phones are built to the same specifications no matter where they come from, or that the quality of workmanship is consistent across the board. In lands where regulations regarding how safe electronics must be before they are allowed on the market are more lax than they are in the U.S., or where enforcement of those laws is haphazard, defective units that could prove dangerous to their users are far more likely to get into the hands of consumers. The flip side of this principle is that just because a cell phone manufactured half a world away may have killed its owner doesn't mean your unit harbors any potential to do the same to you.

Some bizarre cell phone accidents were reported in the news in 2004:
  • In January 2004, a Malaysian man who napped on his bed while his cell recharged beside him was reportedly scalded across his buttocks by the remnants of the phone's battery as the unit exploded. The 40-year-old electrician had put a new battery into his cell the week before.
  • In February 2004, Asia Pulse reported that the SV-130 phone belonging to a 54-year-old South Korean woman exploded, setting her bed on fire. According to their account, the cell was not being used at the time, and its battery was disconnected. Fortunately, the woman was sleeping in another room at the time her phone went ka-bang.
  • In March 2004, a welder in Thailand was said to have suffered a severe electric shock when his cell phone exploded from having been brought into too close proximity to a high-voltage pole. The victim's injuries were severe enough to necessitate his leg's being amputated.
  • In September 2004, a report out of southern Vietnam stated that a two-year-old Siemens C45 left charging for 30 minutes had exploded, slightly injuring a bystander.
Worldwide, a number of cells exploded in 2003, a great many of them Nokia phones. According to Nokia, third-party or counterfeit batteries were to blame: in each and every exploding phone case it investigated, the battery in question proved not to be original to the unit and not to have included industry-standard safety measures. It also found the vast majority of short circuits that led to these explosions were caused by the units' having undergone traumatic events (such as being dropped) which jeopardized the integrity of poorly-manufactured batteries.

Barbara "ergo, even if your phone was manufactured according to U.S. standards, buy the right replacement batteries for it or risk having a terrorist cell on your hands" Mikkelson

Last updated:   16 August 2013

Urban Legends Reference Pages © 1995-2014 by snopes.com.
This material may not be reproduced without permission.
snopes and the snopes.com logo are registered service marks of snopes.com.

Sources:

    Asia Pulse.   "LG Electronics, Sony Look Into S. Korean Cell Phone Explosion."
    2 February 2004.

    Associated Press.   "Man Burned by Exploding Phone."
    The [Montreal] Gazette.   28 January 2004   (p. A13).

    Deutsche Presse-Agentur.   "Siemens Mobile Phone Explodes in Vietnam."
    2 September 2004.

    The Nation.   "Warning to Cell Phone Users: Stay Away from Power Poles."
    9 April 2004.

    The New Indian Express.   "Mobile Phone 'Kills' Youth."
  11 August 2004.

    The Press Trust of India.   "Mobile Phone Kills."
  11 August 2004.

    Reuters.   "Apple to Probe Death of Chinese Woman Who Used iPhone When It Was Charging."
  15 July 2013.