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exploding iPods prompt EU safety inquiry

Reports of exploding Apple iPods and iPhones have prompted an investigation from European Union safety watchdogs.

The European Commission said it would examine the safety of Apple's music playing devices, including the iPod Touch, after separate reports from the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands claimed the mp3 player is known to spontaneously burst into flames or detonate.

The latest incident comes from France, where last week a teenager claimed his girlfriend's iPhone exploded into shards, causing damage to one of his eyes.

In July a family from Liverpool reported that their iPod Touch detonated in their backyard.

The family claimed Apple tried to refund the family the £162 cost for the iPod in exchange for signing a confidentially agreement to keep silent over the incident.

Other separate incidents were reported last month in the Netherlands and Sweden, where iPods allegedly burst into flames inside vehicles, causing considerable damage.

Apple is said to be cooperating with the investigation, calling the exploding iPods "isolated incidents" that "don't have evidence of a general problem".

An Apple spokesman said: "We are aware of these reports and we are waiting to receive the iPhones from the customers. Until we have the full details, we don't have anything further to add."

The Commission is requesting any details or further incidents involving iPods or iPhones from the EU's 27 member states. There are about 200m iPods and 27m iPhones sold in Europe.

Three years ago, computer manufacturer Dell recalled 4m laptops after overheated batteries caused the machines to burst into flames.

In July, it emerged that Apple had tried to block of freedom of information request on iPod "burn and fire-related incidences", an 800-page document held by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.

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