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Photograph: EPA/JANNIS MATTAR

US government regulators on Thursday recalled 1 million Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones two weeks after the company stopped selling them because they represent a fire hazard.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the recall, saying consumers had anxiously awaited the action after Samsung stopped selling the smartphones worldwide on September 2 and recalled those that had already been sold.

The South Korean electronics giant started its recall following reports that batteries in the smartphone had caught fire. Samsung has pledged to replace 2.5 million devices worldwide with new ones.

The smartphone's lithium-ion battery, which can overheat and catch fire, poses a serious burn hazard to consumers, the CPSC said.

The company had received complaints from consumers who said their phones' battery had overheated and even caught fire while charging. The potential hazard prompted several airlines to ban passengers from using the phones on board

The US recall affects approximately 1 million smartphones, the CPSC said. The federal agency said owners of the Note 7 can get a free replacement from Samsung, their wireless carrier or from the retail outlet where they bought it.

The smartphones cause such a serious fire hazard that the CPSC is urging all consumers to immediately take advantage of the recall.

It said Samsung has received 92 reports of the batteries overheating in the United States, including 26 reports of burns and 55 reports of property damage, including fires in cars and a garage.

The battery problem affects about 0.1 per cent of the 2.5 million phones sold worldwide since August.

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