'Cell phone ban at petrol stations is based on urban mythology'

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Sydney, July 11 (ANI): The ban on the use of cell phones at petrol pumps is nothing more than an 'urban myth', according to a top industry body representing Australia's mobile telecoms sector.

The myth that mobile phones and petrol are an explosive combination surfaced in the 1990s and has since been perpetuated through warning signs at gas stations across the world.

"It's not something that is a reality. It's something that came forward in the early '90s and has been the subject of a bit of urban mythology," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Chris Althaus, the chief executive of the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, as saying.

However, Althaus said the association still favoured the ban on mobile phone use at petrol stations.

He said: "It's incredibly important that people are safe when they are filling their cars up with petrol, so we're happy to support the idea that you don't use a phone while you're doing that. But it's not on the basis that the device could somehow lead to a spark and ignition. That's never been known to happen, and the physics would suggest that it's nigh on impossible."

Scientist Karl Kruszelnicki traces the myth back to an email sent to a Shell oil company office in Jamaica. The email gained credibility after a Shell employee passed it on. (ANI)

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