Overheating cellphone batteries spark important conversation

On behalf of Mike Clancy

A Fox News station recently broadcast a story on potentially dangerous cellphone batteries. The story specifically focused on the experience of one 13-year-old, who slept with her cellphone on her pillow, as many teens and adults are prone to do. As the girl slept, her cellphone battery became swollen and started to smolder. Hundreds of viewers reached out to the station in the wake of the story to report having similar experiences. Defective cellphone batteries like these are truly dangerous consumer products. So why have they not been recalled?

The answer to this question is complex. Many dangerous products are not recalled until either the manufacturer of the product or the government receives a certain number of complaints and investigates the issue at hand. While this process is taking place, other consumers remain at risk of being harmed by those potentially defective products which are still on the market.

In addition, other contributing factors must generally be ruled out before any given product will be recalled. While following up on its initial story, the local Fox station reached out to the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission to ask whether it believed that cellphone battery standards should be updated in an effort to prevent consumers from being harmed by those that overheat. The CPSC responded by insisting that the standards it set back in 2007 are sufficient. The agency noted that it remains important that consumers maintain good safety practices in regards to charging batteries and that manufacturers should comply with the current regulations.

In this sense, the agency most directly tasked with keeping consumers safe from defective products pointed to both consumer behavior and manufacturer compliance issues as threats, as opposed to the batteries themselves. Oftentimes, consumers can remain at risk for harm while agencies and manufacturers either point fingers or scramble to assess the situation. This is one of the many reasons why individuals harmed by defective products can benefit from speaking with an experienced attorney. Filing a personal injury claim may serve both to remedy the immediate situation and to inspire both agencies and manufacturers to get their acts together.

Source: MyFoxDFW.com, “CPSC has no plans to change cell phone safety standards,” Steve Noviello, July 28, 2014

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Overheating cellphone batteries spark important conversation