Generic iPhone chargers are significantly more dangerous than their Apple-produced counterparts, according to a new study published in the journal Annals of Emergency Medicine.
Several companies that investigated off-brand chargers concluded that “the majority of the generic chargers fail basic safety testing, making them a higher risk for electrical injury,” the report says.
One such analysis of 400 generic smartphone chargers found that 99 percent of them were unsafe, with 22 of the chargers causing serious damage during the testing process.
Injuries caused by these chargers includes burns and electrocution. In one case study, a patient was propelled from his bed by an “electric current.”
In another, a 19-year-old was lying in bed with her charger plugged in. When the device came into contact with her chain necklace “she felt a sudden burning sensation and severe pain around her neck,” researchers report.
The jolt resulted in second-degree burns and dead tissue that had to be surgically removed from her wound. She was left with a permanent scar wrapping around the front of her neck.
“Teens and adolescents are particularly at risk of injury due to their frequent mobile device use,” says lead study author Dr. Carissa Bunke, a pediatric resident at University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
The takeaway: don’t sleep with phones or mobile devices charging in bed and avoid leaving the charger plugged in when it is not connected to a phone.
“Even with a low-voltage device, if the current is high, then the electric shock can be severe,” Bunke says.
Severe cases could involve extensive tissue damage or deep burns that require skin grafts, the researchers find. Complications from these types of injuries include muscle breakdown, trouble breathing and irregular heart rhythm.
Faulty chargers aren’t the only hot cellular news.
Reports of exploding smartphones have frequently made headlines in recent years, memorably in the case of Samsung’s recalled Galaxy Note 7. And earlier in July, an Oklahoma mom’s car was gutted when a replacement iPhone battery she purchaced online sparked a fire which melted the seats of her 2019 Jeep Cherokee.