Cell Phones hazardous
at the Gas Pump?
By: Elizabeth Nelson
everyone is throwing around warnings regarding cell phones
and brain cancer, memory loss, and other health risks. I
have now heard another rumor-- Using a cell phone at a gas
pump can lead to an explosion. However, the ESD Journal
strongly encourages you not to believe everything you hear
There is an email going around
that started the rumors. It reads: "Warning: Cell phone
use in gas stations. In case you do not know, there was
an incident where where a driver suffered burns and his
car severely damaged when gasoline fumes ignited an explosion
while he was talking on his mobile phone standing near the
attendant who was pumping the gas. All the electric devices
in gas stations are protected with explosive containment
devices, (intrinsically safe) while cell phones are not.
READ YOUR HANDBOOK! Mobile phone makers Motorola, Ericsson,
and Nokia, all print cautions in their user handbooks that
warn against mobile phones in "gas stations, fuel storage
sites, and chemical factories." Exxon has begun placing
"warning stickers" at its gasoline stations. The
threat mobile phones pose to gas stations and their users
is primarily the result of their ability to produce sparks
that can be generated by the high-powered battery inside
the phone. Please pass this on."
Even though parts of this message
are true, the majority is not. Cell phone manufacturers
do place warnings concerning cell phone use at gas stations,
but this is because of our county's obsession with lawsuits.
Businesses must take every precaution to keep themselves
safe, even if it means placing warnings on incidents that
have one in a billion chance of happening.
According to one Motorola brochure:
"This telephone has not been designed or approved for
use in potentially explosive atmospheres. Areas with a potentially
explosive atmosphere are often, not always, clearly marked.
Potentially explosive atmospheres include: Fueling areas
such as gasoline stations..." This seems more like
a common sense warning or precaution. Did you expect that
your cell phone was "designed" for use in "potentially
explosive atmospheres"? Industry spokespeople have
even explained that the actual risk is very slim. Sometimes,
we all know, that it is better safe than sorry!
I believe that many of the
"reports" of explosions caused by "cell phones"
are actually the result of static electricity. These types
of explosions happen regardless of cell phone use. The ESD
Journal has reported on many cases of gas pump explosions,
and so far, none have involved a cell phone.
article from Charleston Daily Mail reporting on an explosion
from static electricity at a gas pump.
See these related ESD Journal
Gas Pumps Burst into
Static, Exploding Cars?
Another Gas Pump Fire
Injures 12 year old
Do you have any information
on this subject? We want to hear from you!
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