OUR LIVES are inextricably linked to our cellphones – just like the lively ads that promote them say they are. Looking at all the youngsters singing and dancing, couples holding hands, as well as important people in ‘official’ clothes, and all of them so happy, it is easy to ignore all the tests linking cell phone radiations to cancer and brain tumours, or the fact that keeping them in your pocket leads to a low sperm count.
These studies, some claiming cellphones to be worse than cigarettes and asbestos, have amounted to nothing but urban myths in most people’s minds. But what happens when the cellphone, quite literally, starts exploding in our faces?
Cell Phone Mayhem!
On Monday, 18-year-old Monu’s cell exploded and injured his eye. He claimed to have bought the ‘branded’ cellphone from Gaffar market. This isn’t the first time that this incident has happened in India, let alone the world. A man named Gopal Gujjar in Kota lost his life to a mobile phone (attributed to battery explosion, though the phone wasn’t charging). Similar incidents in Madhya Pradesh and Calcutta led to minor burns. In fact, there have been many such cases around the world.
But Poonam Kaul, head of corporate communications, Nokia, explains, “Most of these cases are when the batteries used in the cellphone are fake. The person bought his cellphone from Gaffar Market. We always insist that customers ask for a receipt while buying a cellphone, but you would never receive a receipt from Gaffar market because there, the products are cheaper.”
|HOW TO AVOID SUCH EXPLOSIONS|
|1. Use original batteries
|2. Keep your mobile phone away from heat
|3. If your device is becoming very hot and is uncomfortable to touch, it’s probably a sign of something wrong with the battery
|4. Every charger is designed to match a certain voltage and current level – if it doesn’t match, it could fry it
|5. A wet cellphone or battery might appear to be fine, but could lead to corrosion and eventually a short-circuit
STOP USING CELLS?
However, this incident has not deterred the city’s youth from using mobiles. Says Nikita Gupta, 23, “I don’t think anyone will stop using cellphones. We are addicted to them, especially with smartphones coming into the market. I get irritated even when I lose connection for ten minutes, and get worried about not being able to get my emails or chats. I doubt that I, or any of my friends, will get off cellphones because of this. Sure, we’ll talk about the incident, but that’s about it.”
But 22-year-old Reema Sharma is a little shaken by the incident, “I will only use my hands-free from now on,” says she, while 25-year old Latika Khanna says that she “freaked out” when she “heard about a similar incident a couple of years ago. I don’t talk on my cellphone when it is charging now,” she tells us. And 21-year-old Alisha Nagar now follows strict instructions from her parents. “They tell me not to sleep with the cellphone under my pillow, or leave it on charge overnight. I am not that affected by such news, but they are true after-all!”
|MOBILE PHONE ‘BLASTS’ AROUND THE WORLD|
|FEBRUARY 3, 2009: A man in China died after his mobile phone exploded, severing a major artery in his neck. It was believed that he may have just finished charging the battery and had put the phone in his breast pocket when it exploded (making it China’s ninth cellphone explosion since 2002).|
|MARCH 2, 2011: A Florida family is grateful no one was hurt after their cellphone exploded in the middle of the night without warning.|
|NOV 29, 2007: A man in New Zealand was woken up in the middle of the night when his cellphone battery exploded and burst into flames, the second exploding battery incident reported that week.|
|MARCH 12, 2010: A Texas man was rushed to the hospital after his cellphone exploded while he was holding it up to his ear. Aron Embry said he was making a call on his new phone when he heard a loud pop, then his ear started bleeding.|
Image: Aron Embry, his phone exploded while he was holding it near his ear.