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Where the idea came from is unclear, but fears about electric fans date almost to their introduction to Korea, with stories dating to the 1920s and 1930s warning of the risks of nausea, asphyxiation, and facial paralysis from the new technology.One conspiracy theory is that the South Korean government created or perpetuated the myth as propaganda to curb the energy consumption of South Korean households during the 1970s energy crisis, but Slate reports that the myth is much older than that – dating almost as far back as the introduction of electric fans in Korea, and cites a 1927 article about "Strange Harm from Electric Fans".

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This theory bears a similarity to a once-popular misconception which claimed that a person in a closed room with plants would asphyxiate if the room was not kept ventilated, as the plant's respiratory processes would supposedly consume all the oxygen in the room.If even a small percentage of the limestone deposits were still in the form of living marine organisms at the time of the Flood, then the small amount of carbon-14 would have mixed with a much larger carbon-12 reservoir, thus resulting in a drastically reduced ratio.Specimens would then look much older than they actually are.If bodies are exposed to electric fans or air conditioners for too long, it causes [the] bodies to lose water and [causes] hypothermia.If directly in contact with [air current from] a fan, this could lead to death from [an] increase of carbon dioxide saturation concentration and decrease of oxygen concentration.University of Miami researcher Larry Kalkstein says a misunderstanding in translation resulted in his accidental endorsement of the fan death theory, which he denies is a real phenomenon.Ken Jennings, writing for Slate, says that based on "a recent email survey of contacts in Korea", opinion seems to be shifting among younger Koreans: "A decade of Internet skepticism seems to have accomplished what the preceding 75 years could not: convinced a nation that Korean fan death is probably hot air." The Korea Consumer Protection Board (KCPB), a South Korean government-funded public agency, issued a consumer safety alert in 2006 warning that "asphyxiation from electric fans and air conditioners" was among South Korea's five most common summer accidents or injuries, according to data they collected.The risks are higher for the elderly and patients with respiratory problems.From 2003 [to] 2005, a total of 20 cases were reported through the CISS involving asphyxiations caused by leaving electric fans and air conditioners on while sleeping.Hypothermia is abnormally low body temperature caused by inadequate thermoregulation.As the metabolism slows down at night, one becomes more sensitive to temperature, and thus supposedly more prone to hypothermia.

476 comments

  1. Radiometric dating is a technique used to date materials using known decay rates. Are radiometric dating methods accurate?

  2. November 14, 2016 Gundog. Approaching one year of marriage here after three years of dating. Going great. Modern marriage is part of the misguided pursuit of happiness.

  3. JODY DAY is the British founder of Gateway Women, the global friendship and support network for childless women, and the author of 2016’s 'Living the Life.

  4. The UK’s leading awareness resource helping protect people, finances, devices and businesses from fraud, abuse and other issues encountered online.

  5. Coffee is linked to numerous health issues, but continues to be one the most popular drinks worldwide.

  6. Fan death is a well-known superstition in Korean culture, where it is thought that running an electric fan in a closed room with unopened or no windows will prove fatal.

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