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[May 2019]

Beware of leakage from a smartphone case containing liquid: shiny but risky

Various types of smartphone cases are on the market for protecting and decorating smartphones. Some of them encapsulate a liquid. Recently, chemical burns from a liquid leaking out of smartphone cases have been reported.

The liquid used for these products often poses a risk of skin problems. Contact with the liquid may cause reddening and chemical burns. In 2016, NCAC issued an alert on this topic.

Even after cautioning, there have been 9 reports of similar harmful incidents (e.g. "I got burned by a liquid leaked out of the case," "My skin turned red in the shape of smartphone"). Three victims required more than one month of treatment.

Then, NCAC examined ingredients of the liquid contained in five brands of smartphone cases on the market and checked labeling of the products. In order to prevent similar problems, NCAC shares updates and issues an alert to consumers again.

Test results

Composition of the products tested

The cases are made of polycarbonate. The volume of the encapsulated liquid is roughly between 7 mL and 19 mL.

Ingredients of the liquid

The encapsulated liquid is mineral oil, composition of which is close to that of kerosene. If the liquid contacts with skin or clothes for several hours, it may cause chemical burns similar to kerosene dermatitis.

Labeling and representation

Packages of the products did not indicate any risk to human health from the encapsulated liquid.

Advice for consumers

Contact with the liquid encapsulated in smartphone cases may cause chemical burns. Recognize the risk and handle the products with care.

Request to businesses

  • Ingredients of the liquid encapsulated in smartphone cases and risks to human health should be clearly indicated. Be sure to attach caution labels to the products.
  • Be more safety conscious. Refrain from using the harmful liquid or replace the liquid with safe one.