Authorities have warned consumers against buying cheap knock-off USB chargers for popular devices such as phones and tablets after a woman was found dead, wearing headphones and with burn marks on her ears and chest.
Fairfax Media reported the story, and says the NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe is issuing the warning to prevent further deaths.
“We’re only familiar with this one incident and it does look like one of these devices are implicated in the electrocution,” he said in the report. A laptop was resting on the Sheryl Aldeguer’s chest when her body was discovered. According to the report the charger cost around $4.95.
Aldeguer, from East Gosford, leaves behind two children and a husband. She was about to begin work as a nurse before her death. The 28-year-old, originally from the Philippines, was in Australia on a working visa.
Devices such as power-boards, USB chargers and travel adapters had been removed from a stall in the Sydney suburb of Campsie, and the owner now faces more than $80,000 in fines or two years in prison. According to Fair Trading, the removed devices had no insulation pins or approval marks.
A Fair Trading spokesperson, Lynelle Collins, told Fairfax she was speaking on her phone, which was connected to the charger, while also wearing headphones connected to the laptop.
“So the (electricity) travelled back down through the earphones to the laptop and into the power point,” she said.
“Two-hundred-and-forty volts (then) travelled up into the phone which obviously the phone isn’t designed to handle.
“Bodies are very good conductors of electricity so it’s travelled through her body.”
Fair Trading also warned consumers to dispose of any unapproved devices in its statement:
Do not purchase or use an electrical product that does not carry a recognised safety approval mark or insulation on the pins of the plug.
Consumers in possession of unapproved and non-compliant USB style chargers, typically used to charge phones and tablets, should bend the pins on the chargers and dispose of them immediately.
There’s more here.
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