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Fact check: Viral post falsely claims Bluetooth earpiece caused electric shock

Video clip of man getting struck by a live wire being shared with the claim that his Bluetooth device was to blame

January 23, 2023 02:48 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 10:09 am IST

A screengrab from the viral video.

A screengrab from the viral video.

A video of a man suffering an electric shock has gone viral on social media with the claim that his Bluetooth earpiece was to blame.

The Twitter post, which has been viewed over 9,00,000 times as of January 23, warns against using a Bluetooth earpiece near “electrical facilities & cables eg railway stations”, as “the brain might be struck directly by electrical current from the cables precipitating quick death”.

Archived link here.

The clip shows the man collapsing after suffering an electric shock on a railway platform.

But as it turned out, the trigger was a live wire and not a Bluetooth device.

A reverse image search revealed that the incident occurred at the Kharagpur railway station in West Bengal in December last year. The man, a travelling ticket examiner (TTE), was struck by a live wire that had snapped. He was taken to a hospital and was said to be stable.

To determine whether there is any scientific basis to the claim of Bluetooth devices influencing the chances of electrocution, The Hindu contacted Professor Rodney Croft, Chair, International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), and Director, Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research, University of Wollongong.

“From my understanding, this is a case where someone has been electrocuted through contact with a live wire. However, although electricity (low frequency electric current) from live wires is clearly very dangerous, Bluetooth devices do not affect those low frequency electric currents and so don’t influence the possibility of electrocution. This is because the low frequency electric currents require a conducting material (such as a wire or other metal object) to allow them to bridge the gap between the live wire and the person, whereas the electromagnetic fields from Bluetooth devices do not conduct electricity. In other words, whether someone is wearing a Bluetooth device or not will not affect whether they are harmed by low frequency electric currents such as those found in most homes or near railway lines,” he said.

Fact check: Fake

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