Report: Cell phone explodes in trousers

A consumer group charges that a Dutch supermarket employee is the second person to be injured by a malfunctioning Nokia phone in the past two months.

Nokia said Tuesday that it's investigating two recent reports of its cell phones "exploding" and causing injuries.

Last Thursday, a supermarket employee in the Netherlands burned his legs when a Nokia handheld exploded in his pants pocket, according to Juliette Oolders of the Dutch consumer group Consumentenbond. Oolders said she believes the phone was one of Nokia's newer models, but could not be more specific. In August, a 33-year-old Dutch woman was injured when her Nokia phone exploded in her hands.

A Nokia representative said the company is investigating both incidents but would not comment further.

Reports about exploding phones could add to the general unrest among some cell phone owners about the safety of the devices. Aside from occasional reports of melting phones, some scientists are debating whether radiation from certain models might cause cancer .

Nokia issued a warning in February against using badly made or counterfeit replacement batteries in Nokia phones, which apparently was the cause of the August incident, according to the company.

But Oolders pointed out that the phone in Thursday's incident was still using its original battery.

"It's not a good situation," she said.

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    Ben Charny
    covers Net telephony and the cellular industry.
     

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