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Korean Fan Death

Posted January 22, 2010 12:00 AM by baumah

In South Korea, some people believe that staying overnight in a room with an electric fan will kill you if the doors and windows are closed. The alleged causes of death are hypothermia and asphyxiation.

Causes of Death

Believers maintain that a fan can either create a vortex that depletes oxygen in the room, or produces too much carbon dioxide from the motor. Either way, the result is death by asphyxiation. It is also thought that leaving a fan on all night will lower the temperature of the room so much that sleepers could suffer hypothermia.

Media Coverage

The media is one of the major reasons for spreading this myth. During the summer in Korea, reports of death by fan are very common. As one report claimed, "the heat wave which has encompassed Korea for about a week has generated various heat-related accidents and deaths. At least 10 people died from the effects of electric fans, which can remove oxygen from the air and lower body temperatures."

The Truth About Fans

Fans may help you cool down on a hot day, but they do not lower the temperature of a room. In fact, a running motor causes a slight increase in a room's temperature, so dying from fan-induced hypothermia is impossible. As for the possibility of death by asphyxiation, fans do not operate by combustion. Therefore, they would not create excessive amounts of carbon dioxide. Fans aren't powerful enough to create a vortex that would suck the oxygen out of a room either. So again, it's unlikely anyone would die from asphyxiation by a fan.

Although fans may not be a huge safety concern for most Americans, they are still dangerous enough to kill people under the right circumstances. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that it is unsasfe to use a fan when the temperature exceeds 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity is higher than 35%. "Many people think electric fans are sufficient during extreme heat," said Michael McGeehin, PhD, MSPH, Director of CDC's Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects. "Fans may provide comfort, but they will not prevent heat-related illness when the temperature is in the high 90s."

These conditions are similar to the South Korean climate during the summer months.

Resources

http://www.cdc.gov/media/pressrel/r010713.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fan_death

http://www.fandeath.net/

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#1

Re: Korean Fan Death

01/22/2010 12:45 AM

This just proves that there is no limit whatsoever to human gullibility. No doubt some shyster will attempt to make a case out of this. I'm a bit surprised that such a story would emerge from South Korea, but North Korea...?

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#2

Re: Korean Fan Death

01/22/2010 6:02 AM

"The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that it is unsafe to use a fan when the temperature exceeds 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity is higher than 35% ..."

No. The CDC warns that a fan alone may not be sufficient. Not the same thing as a fan being unsafe.

Quote from the CDC link:

"Many people think electric fans are sufficient during extreme heat," said Michael McGeehin, PhD, MSPH, Director of CDC's Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects. "Fans may provide comfort, but they will not prevent heat-related illness when the temperature is in the high 90s."

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Korean Fan Death

01/22/2010 11:16 AM

Hypothermia in a cold room with fan blowing on you I can understand. But if its that cold why do you need a fan running to begin with.

Hyperthermia if the room is that hot wouldn't you die of it anyway? Sounds like an educational issue. When you stop sweating it pass the time for a fan. You need help.

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#4

Re: Korean Fan Death

01/22/2010 7:44 PM

If your stupid enough to believe that then maybe you should die from asphyxiation.

Also if your so brain dead that you don't automatically wake up when you feel cold then perhaps dying a slow miserable death by mild hypothermia is fair too.

PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF FUTURE HUMANITY LET NATURAL SELECTION CONTINUE TO DO ITS THING SOME PLACE ON THIS PLANET!

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#6
In reply to #4

Re: Korean Fan Death

01/22/2010 11:54 PM

What a party

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Korean Fan Death

01/23/2010 12:01 AM

Have a look at what these guys are doing. What'll they think of next?

http://www.dysonairmultiplier.com/

Revenge of the killer fans! Not even worth a B grade movie, unless there would be a bit of mincing involved. Coming to think of it......................., Ky.

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#14
In reply to #7

Re: Korean Fan Death

01/23/2010 6:09 AM

It took their team of 350 engineers to develop this? That would be the most grotesquely inefficient use of engineering I have ever seen. But what a hoot! One or two people asked how it worked, which this dopey video did not answer.

I'm only guessing, but maybe the ring has a multitude of compressed air nozzles that entrain air flow through the inner circle. The trade-off between high pressure low flow and low pressure high flow, as in any eductor, is probably an energy loss, though useful in some circumstances. Of course, if the compressor is in another room, it's all "magic."

This company deserves to go broke. They're off to a good start, unless gullibility saves them. But maybe they'll spend the money better than their customers....

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#17
In reply to #14

Re: Korean Fan Death

01/25/2010 10:30 AM

There is a blower in the base.

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#20
In reply to #14

Re: Korean Fan Death

01/25/2010 1:09 PM

Re: "This company deserves to go broke."

C'mon --- they have taught us such an important lesson: For only $650 (instead of $12.99) you can have the benefit of a somewhat cooling breeze WITHOUT having to put up with that nerve-racking "buffeting" from the blades of an ordinary fan.

We need more companies designing such ingenious products to help flatten out our wallets, while at the same time keeping thousands of engineers entertainingly employed.

Next products-

> chewing gum that will NOT stick to the underside of a desk (or to pavement).

> belt buckles that continuously remove belly button lint.

> the cell-phone/garage-door-opener/TV-remote/can-opener/Tazer/...

> hey; how about a urinal that curves back INTO the wall (where the plumbing goes anyway)... rather than *as-they-do* guaranteeing that SOME spray-back will ALWAYS occur!

the list is endless...

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#5

Re: Korean Fan Death

01/22/2010 11:54 PM

Fans are boons for getting artificial air circulation in rooms, harmless repellents for mosquitoes and serve as low cost Air conditioners.

Extreme cases of over size[hall usage fans in a small room] fans could have caused,or the person could have been suffering chronic Asphyxiation problems, possible rarity and exaggerated information on fans.

It seems to be campaign with built in aim to control electrical power consumption.

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#8
In reply to #5

Re: Korean Fan Death

01/23/2010 12:17 AM

Dear

s.udhayamarthandan

"artificial air"

Does that come in the same packaging as "artificial brains"? Please explain.

If we have our fans running on full blast all day and we feel a bit sloppy, we take a bath. Nothing wrong with cold water melons and a bit of punch. We have had a few drownings but as tcmtech has mentioned, they were not worth the "artificial air" they were breathing.

I'm ready for one any way, Ky.

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#10
In reply to #8

Re: Korean Fan Death

01/23/2010 12:30 AM

Dear Ky Sir,

Greetings and long time having met you in forums.I have meant the ARTIFICIAL AIR CIRCULATION in closed rooms using fans. I am used to fans all the time without which discomfort is suffered. That made me to work on air conditioned/ air circulated garments for which the 4th year is on progress.

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#12
In reply to #10

Re: Korean Fan Death

01/23/2010 2:31 AM

Thank you for clarifying that. Its only the language, you know. I did not mean to get smart with you, at all, just the language my friend.

Don't worry about the Sir so much, I live here in Australia and our Prime Minister is called Kevin, at least that is what I called him last time I saw him. I've drunk it all so I'd better keep it short.

I hope your progress will be better than you expect, Ky.

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#23
In reply to #10

Re: Korean Fan Death

02/04/2010 10:47 AM

The possibility of anaerobic gases from attched toilet or bath rooms can not be under estimated in this case.

They deplete oxygen levels in the room.

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#9

Re: Korean Fan Death

01/23/2010 12:17 AM

I'm waiting for the TV commercial by a law firm soliciting victims for a clss-action law suit.

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#11

Re: Korean Fan Death

01/23/2010 12:35 AM

All Myths have some basis in fact.

I have read of early fans that were gas powered, though I am writing from memory now.

Such fans of course would produce carbon monoxide, and kill in a closed room.

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#19
In reply to #11

Re: Korean Fan Death

01/25/2010 11:10 AM

It could also be possible that some bright individuals decided to seal the room up tightly to keep the heat out figuring that the fan would cool them down by the evaporative effect from their sweat. In doing so, their breathing would reduce the O2 content of a tightly sealed room while the CO2 content would then rise. Sort of like crawling into a plastic bag to escape the heat.

In essence the fan becomes a red herring as to the cause of death unless like the man said it was powered by some sort of combustion engine. In reviewing that Jost Sterling engine fan, that is quite a piece of machinery. Considering the castings and machined linkage that went into the makeup it would never be economical today to manufacture even in China.

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#13

Re: Korean Fan Death

01/23/2010 3:38 AM

Yes, I have an air boat at the foot of my bed. feels good at high speed and I cant even hear the neighbors dog anymore.

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#15

Re: Korean Fan Death

01/23/2010 8:40 AM

A more likely cause is dehydration. No sweat = no cooling = die

Asphyxiation is probably near enough for a journalist

But also below is current product (yes they do run on kero)

Kerosene Operated Fan

Product Category : Electrical Fans

Zakaria Ilyas Export Corporation offers Kerosene Operated Fan. The Kerosene Operated Fan is available in two models of product codes, A5760-A and A5760-B.

  • Kerosene Operated Fan A5760-A Material: Iron, Wood Finish: Black powder coated Size: 40 inch Height
  • Kerosene Operated Fan A5760-B Material: Iron, Brass Finish: Powder coated Iron, Antique Brass Size: 13 inch Height

Suppliers Name

:

Zakaria Ilyas Export Corporation

Address

:

Bhatti Street,

Telephone No.

:

91-591-2494942

Fax No.

:

91-591-2494260
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#16
In reply to #15

Re: Korean Fan Death

01/23/2010 9:38 AM

By one "cheap" on e-bay?

JOST STIRLING FAN NOT STEAM 1920'S HOT AIR FAN MUSUEM - eBay (item ...

Yes it's a Stirling engine

Jost Hot Air Fan

A fair basis for an "urban myth" dating from 1905 on.

GA to Trans - for thinking out side 'knee-jerk'

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#18

Re: Korean Fan Death

01/25/2010 11:05 AM

I think that you all are missing the key ingredient here.

It's not the fan, per se, that is lethal. Notice that this phenomenon supposedly occurs in Korea. Obviously, it's the Kimchee fumes that is the lethal ingredient.

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#21

Re: Korean Fan Death

01/29/2010 8:58 PM

Mythbusters has proven that it is possible for a fan to cause serious injury or even kill a person under the right circumstances. Maybe in South Korea, it gets so hot during the summer that these guys would actually rest the fan directly on themselves and remove the safety grill so as to maximize the flow. Then, after they fall asleep, the fan topples over and slits their throat or something similiar .

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#22
In reply to #21

Re: Korean Fan Death

01/29/2010 9:53 PM

Thank you Darth.

I know you posted that just for me.

But I have to admit - that was a hilarious episode, especially the lawnmower engine "engineering" ............. and tension/anticipation/drama of of the dummy/s cleaved by 1/4" steel.

But, as ever, a disappointing result; only the mannequin got it.

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#24

Re: Korean Fan Death

02/15/2010 11:29 PM

Hahaha

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