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Lightning and cell phones





HoboPelican
Below is a news story about the purported dangers of using cellphones during a storm. They aren't saying that the phones attract lightning, just that "if a metal object, such as a phone, is in contact with the skin it disrupts the flashover and increases the odds of internal injuries and death". Not sure what to make of this "instant science alert", but most phones I see are plastic and they don't make any references to watches and jewelery being dangerous. Ya'll think this is just another example of media induced panicking? Not sure what the odds are off getting struck by lightning in the first place ( I know someone will tell us), but this hardly seems to be something to worry about. Maybe a good thing to think of in regard to metal in general, but not sure why they picked out cell phones.

LInk - http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060623/tc_nm/telephones_dc_3
Quote:
LONDON (Reuters) - People should not use mobile phones outdoors during thunderstorms because of the risk of being struck by lightning, doctors said on Friday.

They reported the case of a 15-year-old girl who was using her phone in a park when she was hit during a storm. Although she was revived, she suffered persistent health problems and was using a wheelchair a year after the accident.

"This rare phenomenon is a public health issue, and education is necessary to highlight the risk of using mobile phones outdoors during stormy weather to prevent future fatal consequences from lighting strike injuries," said Swinda Esprit, a doctor at Northwick Park Hospital in England.

Esprit and other doctors at the hospital added in a letter to the British Medical Journal that usually when someone is struck by lightning, the high resistance of the skin conducts the flash over the body in what is known as a flashover.

But if a metal object, such as a phone, is in contact with the skin it disrupts the flashover and increases the odds of internal injuries and death.

The doctors added that three fatal cases of lightning striking people while using mobile phones have been reported in newspapers in China,
South Korea and Malaysia.

"The Australian Lightning Protection Standard recommends that metallic objects, including cordless or mobile phones, should not be used (or carried) outdoors during a thunderstorm," Esprit added.
prototype_angel
assuming you're using a cellphone, there's sure to be a tower in the near vicinity. So the lightning would rather strike the tower because it aldready has a lightning rod to it Smile
HoboPelican
prototype_angel wrote:
assuming you're using a cellphone, there's sure to be a tower in the near vicinity. So the lightning would rather strike the tower because it aldready has a lightning rod to it Smile


Nice thought, but I think there have been a number of occurrences (see article) that sort of invalidate that argument. Wink
The Conspirator
A cell phones will not attacked lightening. Lightening takes the path of least Resistance and a cell phone dose not change the conductivity of a person now will its conductivity be enough to attract lightening.
People just keep popping up with myths about cell phones.
HoboPelican
The Conspirator wrote:
A cell phones will not attacked lightening. Lightening takes the path of least Resistance and a cell phone dose not change the conductivity of a person now will its conductivity be enough to attract lightening.
People just keep popping up with myths about cell phones.


Conspirator, you missed the point of the warning. No one said anything about attracting lightning (in fact I specifically pointed this out). The worry is that
Quote:
if a metal object, such as a phone, is in contact with the skin it disrupts the flashover and increases the odds of internal injuries and death.


They are saying that it's the contact of metal that creates a hot spot that does further damage.
UnderClassman
I'm no specialist, but I think the reason that they picked the use of the cell phone, and now especialy because of the age of that girl, is because a lot of teens have cell phones.

It's an attack on the usage of cells by teens. You know how when you were young and your mom told you that if you keep sticking your toungue out and making that face that it would stick like that forever? This is probably the case.

Most cell phones are plastic. The chances of getting hit by lightning at all are slim, though not impossible. There are actually quite a few people who get hit by lightning every year.


We know that metal can conduct electricity. If one did have a cell that was made of a metal, and lightning did strike it, one would probably have the same chances of living anyway. Especialy since the blow would be close to the brain. If survival did occur, sever damage should be present, and persistant throughout one's life.

This sceintifical BS about flashover and stuff may or may not be true, but as for the damage, it would be so imense anyway that it wouldn't matter. Don't believe me? Try taking 50k volts of electricity to your head with a cell of metal, and then again without. Twisted Evil

I'm kidding, don't do it.
The Conspirator
[quote="HoboPelican"]
The Conspirator wrote:
A cell phones will not attacked lightening. Lightening takes the path of least Resistance and a cell phone dose not change the conductivity of a person now will its conductivity be enough to attract lightening.
People just keep popping up with myths about cell phones.


Conspirator, you missed the point of the warning. No one said anything about attracting lightning (in fact I specifically pointed this out). The worry is that
Quote:
if a metal object, such as a phone, is in contact with the skin it disrupts the flashover and increases the odds of internal injuries and death.

Cell phones are mostly plastic and plastic is not a good conductor.
Its just other myth. Like "cell phones cause cancer" and "if you talk on your cell phone while pumping gad it will cause a fire."
HoboPelican
UnderClassman wrote:

This sceintifical BS about flashover and stuff may or may not be true, but as for the damage, it would be so imense anyway that it wouldn't matter. Don't believe me? Try taking 50k volts of electricity to your head with a cell of metal, and then again without. Twisted Evil

I'm kidding, don't do it.


Lightning is weird, man. Roy Sullivan, a park ranger, survived being struck 7 times. It's rumored that Jim Caviesel was struck twice. Here's a quote on physiological effects. Basically it says there's a 25-32% mortality rate, 74% of people sustain sometype of permanent injury.
Quote:
Approximately 100 to 600 people die annually in the United States as a result of lightning. Serious injuries are caused in about 1,000 to 1,500 persons each year. This produces a 25 to 32% mortality rate. Of the survivors, 74% sustain permanent injuries. There are more deaths caused by lightning than any other natural phenomena including floods, hurricanes and tornadoes. These deaths are less well publicized because they are individuals or small groups and not associated with large-scale property damage. People with outdoor occupations or hobbies including storm chasers are at greatest risk. Although no storm chaser has been killed or seriously injured, the risk remains.

The current in a lightning bolt is as high as 30,000 Amperes with 1,000,000 or more Volts. The short duration of about 1-100 milliseconds limits, but doesn’t prevent injury. There are several mechanisms of lightning injury. The most severe is a direct strike, either on the victim or on some object the victim is holding such as a golf club, tripod or umbrella. A “side flash” occurs when lightning hits a nearby object and jumps to the victim. Ground current injures the victim when lightning strikes the ground nearby and it spreads to the person. Rarely, people maybe injured or killed indoors while using the telephone or taking a shower. Burns may occur from jewelry, clothing or other heated material. Finally, blunt injury and trauma may occur secondary to the shockwave from a lightning strike or from a resulting fall.

<http://www.harkphoto.com/light.html>
cfackler
I read about that on Slashdot. I was playing in a concert outdoors once, when someone using a cellphone was struck by lightning. Luckily they were OK, but my mom (who was there also) is scared to even use the regular, landline phone during a thunderstorm.
s43ros
seems like landlines could possibly be more dangerous because if lightning strikes the wire somewhere outside your house or something like that, the line would probably be insulated all the way to your phone where it would probably jump to your head and then through you to the ground. Seems like i've seen this tested before somewhere
HoboPelican
Snopes.com had this.
Quote:
Even talking on the telephone during a storm is not absolutely safe. On average one person is killed by lightning while talking on the phone each year. Standard telephones (what are coming to be called land lines, meaning handsets that are plugged into outlets within the home or office) can be somewhat of a risky proposition during an electrical storm, as the wires through which telecommunications takes place can be hit by lightning, with the resultant electrical discharge instantly zapped through nearby handsets and data ports. Yet this danger is small and the number of such strikes relatively low.


Interestingly, the FEMA site says to only use landline phones in an emergency but that cordless and cell phones are ok.
dean
I don't know so much about that story and that effect that cell phones attract lighting , but when i was reading the story i remembered on one story about Tesla and his experiment about wireless communication in hiss time , wow , in that time hi was trying to make cell phone , what do you think about that .
frozenhead
Maybe it just a coincidence. I lived in a country where 95% of the population does have cellphone and so far, there's no news such as this one here.

Mobile phones just emits a tiny amount of electrical charge so in my opinion, It's just a coincidence. Wink
kinza1230
i am mostly using mobile phone. its really helpful thread and i hope that it will help me.....
duytam28
What is the policy regarding using your cell phone onboard your flight? And how do you use Inflight Satellite Phones? All of this ... Just look for the lightning bolt symbol overhead, designating powerport-equipped seats
According to safety authorities, somebody who is outside increases their risk of being struck if they are on high ground, in an open space, near water or near large metallic structures or trees. These factors are more important to safety in an electrical storm than the use of a mobile phone.

Although some people speculate mobile phones pose a risk when used outdoors because lightning is attracted to metal, mobile phone handsets generally contain insignificant amounts of metal.

Mobile phones are low power devices and do not have any characteristics which would make them attractive to lightning strikes.
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