It may be a tad overblown, but we Australians seem to enjoy perpetuating the idea that almost everything on and around our vast brown continent can – and will – kill tourists, if given the chance. Sharks, crocodiles, octopus, dingoes, stingray, the sun, drop bears…
And don’t forget petrol stations.
Posting to Instagram on Tuesday, the baffled father of two – who is currently following his superstar wife on her nationwide Beautiful Trauma tour – said he “got into an argument” with with a woman, after she chastised him for using his mobile phone at the bowser.
“She told me that I was putting everyone’s life in danger [by] using my phone at the gas pump,” he wrote.
“That if I had the light turned on, accidentally dropped it, the phone would light the fumes, the station would blow up, and kill all of us.
“What the hell is wrong with people?????? You got some serious scare tactics over here lol.”
I just got into an argument with a woman at a gas station in Brisbane. She told me that I was putting everyone’s life in danger my using my phone at the gas pump. That if I had the light turned on, accidentally dropped it, the phone would light the fumes, the station would blow up, and kill all of us ????????. What the hell is wrong with people?????? You got some serious scare tactics over here lol.
But his followers were divided.
Several sided with the woman, arguing that static charge created by mobile phone battery could ignite the petrol vapour.
“Just sayin. It states it in small print on all pumps,” one wrote.
“Sometimes just being respectful and following rules put in place by the business owner, and abided by others, is the right thing to do,” added another.
But many were just as incredulous as Hart, several of whom pointed to a 2003 episode of science program Mythbusters, which concluded that such fears are unfounded. And that in fact, “the actual risk comes from an electrostatic discharge between a charged driver and the car, often a result of continually getting into and out of the vehicle.”
Yep. Static electricity from your own body is more likely to cause a service station fire than your phone. Fun.
Most researchers (and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau) agree.
As a University of Melbourne blog noted, "This rumour has been floating around since 1999 with statements of incidents surfacing all around the world. However, there is no evidence what so ever to support these claims."
The article pointed to several studies conducted by the wireless industry that have examined the potential for mobile phones to create sparks that lead to ignitable fires or explosions.
"They all conclude that whilst theoretically a spark could result from a cell phone battery and ignite petrol vapour, there are only very precise conditions this can happen under, and hence no true documented incidents," it read.
"There is no potential threat; all scientific testing has established no dangerous link between mobile phones and fuel vapours."
But as long as there are signs on the bowser, probably best to follow the rules...