Buyer Beware: Accidents Due to Faulty Portable Chargers on the Rise in JapanSociety
Japan has seen a sharp rise in accidents involving portable mobile phone chargers. The Consumer Affairs Agency recorded 162 cases from 2013 to June 2019. Although the number of incidents had been growing annually, there was a steep increase in 2018, with 76 accidents reported compared to just over 21 the previous year. The CAA’s Consumer Safety Division suspects the growing use of portable chargers for smartphones may have contributed to the jump.
Devices smoking, igniting, overheating, or causing fires were the most common type of accidents, accounting for 72.2% of all cases. These included serious and potentially life-threatening incidents, such as a portable charger overheating or catching fire while in a person’s pocket or bag.
The CAA warns that manufacturing defects can lead chargers to malfunction and advises consumers check the agency’s homepage for information on recalled products to make sure that their own device is not defective.
The CAA also asks consumers to confirm whether a product carries a PSE mark, indicating that it meets the technical standards of the Electrical Appliance and Material Safety Act. The PSE mark has been mandatory since February 2019, but according to the Consumer Safety Division, products without the mark remain available.
The agency also urges caution in handling devices as portable chargers are vulnerable to physical impact, pressure, and heat. In particularly, it recommends people do not leave chargers in cars on hot days or place devices between car seats while driving.
(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: A portable charger smokes and emits sparks during a safety demonstration. © Consumer Affairs Agency.)