Can Using A Mobile Phone At A Petrol Station Cause A Fire Or An Explosion?
Using your mobile phones at a Petrol Station can cause a fire or an explosion. This is a popular urban myth.
This widespread belief is mostly promoted at Petrol Stations. They believe that microwaves emitted from mobile phones could generate a spark that could ignite petrol fumes.
At Petrol Stations, signs are placed at each pump warning customers not to use their mobile phones near the fuel pumps.
In recent times, viral videos of how mobile phones purportedly caused fire explosion at Petrol stations have been massively promoted on social media.
But how true is this?
Can using your phone at a petrol station cause a fire or an explosion?
Well, these claims are totally FALSE.
Debunking The Myth
There has been no documented case of a mobile phone starting a fire at a Petrol station. This is according to the Petroleum Equipment Institute (PEI).
The PEI is a globally-renowned organization that is a leading authority and source of information for the fuel and fluid handling equipment industries.
Mobile phones are low-power radio-frequency transmitters. Depending on the technology, they transmit radio signals at between 450 and 2700 MHz, with a peak power value that ranges between 0.1 and 2 watts, or at 2.45GHz.
So, at that frequency, can mobile phones really have an impact in a petrol station?
Well, Science says no, because these devices emit very little energy (less than 1 W/cm2).
Other researchers have also actively tried (and failed) to use mobile phones to start petrol station fires.
The belief was even put to test on the popular Discovery Channel programme, MythBusters.
The hosts filled a gas chamber with fumes and then made a phone call inside it to see if it would ignite. The results were negative.
The only way that a mobile phone could generate a spark at a petrol station would be due to a defective battery. And the chance of this happening is as remote as the chance of a car battery starting a fire at the Petrol Station.
At Petrol Stations, there is something that is more likely to start a fire that you should be more worried about. It is called static electricity.
In simple terms, static is like an electrical charge that is built up when we rub things together. Even our bodies generate static.
Static electricity is the increase of electric charge on the surface of objects. This electric charge remains on an object until it either flows into the ground or loses its charge quickly by a discharge.
At Petrol stations, static charges can be built up in different ways such as going in and out of a car.
Unlike mobile phones, there are records and evidence that static has caused a fire at the Petrol station.
Mobile Phones and Cooking gas Explosion
Just like the Petrol station, there is no evidence to also support that mobile phones can ignite cooking gas. This belief has also been debunked.
Mobile Phone As a Source of Distraction
Indeed, there no evidence that using mobile phones causes fire or explosions. However, using them at Petrol Station is not recommended. This is so because they could be a source of distraction.
The distraction that can result from using a mobile phone at petrol stations can result in people being run over by a car, or cause a spill, carelessness with the car and other pedestrians, etc.
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