Wednesday Weisblog: Nothing phon-y about ECS

ECS has claimed the life of another victim in China.

exploding-phone-2OK, so maybe “ECS” (Exploding Cellphone Syndrome) isn’t a real acronym, but maybe it should be.

When a young Chinese man died last Saturday after his cellphone exploded and severed a major artery in his neck, it marked the ninth time since 2002 that there’s been a recorded account of a cellphone exploding in China.

Your first questions may be the same as mine: What make and model was this? Could it have been the same as mine? Is this happening everywhere or just China.

No idea what brand of phone it was, but I do know something else. Bad news, folks: ECS is (or was) apparently a fairly regular problem here in the United States, too.

∙ In 2004, a 13-year-old boy’s phone exploded in his hand. He stood there stunned, his ears ringing, his hand bleeding and his body covered in ash. Meanwhile, the phone ricocheted off his head and lodged in the ceiling of his house. True story.

∙ Between 2002 and 2004, there were 83 cases of ECS, usually due to faulty or second-hand chargers or batteries.     exploding-cellphone1

∙ In 2005, a Utah 9-1-1 dispatcher’s cell phone grew “red hot” and burned a hole in her jacket pocket, fell to the floor and exploded.

The encouraging thing is that, outside of the China occurrence, most of these stories took place in the earlier portion of this decade, so perhaps technology has gotten to the point where these things don’t happen as often.

But I digress; back to the China story. According to the Shin Min Daily News, helpful hints to avoid becoming a victim of ECS include using original batteries and chargers; avoiding excessively long conversations; and not exposing your cellphone to high temperatures or direct sunlight.

At the end of the day, you can’t worry too much about ECS. If your cellphone explodes and kills you, well, it was just time for your number to come up – no pun intended.


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