Can Mobile Phone Radiation Set Steel Wool On Fire?!

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Is phone radiation so powerful and dangerous, it can actually set steel wool on fire?! Take a look at the viral video, and find out what the facts really are!

Updated @ 2024-06-21 : Completely rewritten after video went viral again
Originally posted @ 2020-01-19


Claim : Mobile Phone Radiation Can Set Steel Wool On Fire!

People are sharing a video, claiming or suggesting that it shows that radiation from a mobile phone is so strong it can even set steel wool on fire!


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Truth : Mobile Phone Radiation Will Not Set Steel Wool On Fire!

This is yet another example of fake news circulating on social media, and here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : Phone Radiation Video Was Digitally Edited

Let me start by simply pointing out that the viral video showing an iPhone 6 setting steel wool on fire when it started ringing, was digitally edited using a movement effect, as well as the fire effect.

Some people have said that the fake video creator likely hid a battery under the steel wool to trigger the fire. But here are some reasons why the video was digitally-edited.

Such Steady Hands!

When he started recording his video, he used a tripod but for no reason at all, the video started swaying just before the incoming call came in.

It may appear that he started holding the camera with his hands, instead of a tripod. But if you look carefully, the swaying was too steady, and moved in a particular pattern.

Such Strong Steel Wool!

And this is important – despite burning for 11 seconds, the steel wool did not disintegrate. That’s just not possible.

Once it catches fire, steel wool burns up very quickly and disintegrates. Yet, in the fake video, the steel wool remained intact even after burning for 11 seconds! So fake!

Outer Side Catches Fire First?

Even if it was possible for EM radiation to generate current in the steel wool, the inner side would catch fire first. Yet in this video, it’s the opposite – the outer side caught fire first.

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iPhone Steel Wool Fire Hoax Explained + Debunked!

Fact #2 : Video Creator Is Not Reputable

The viral video appears to originate from a YouTube channel called ViralVideoLab, which appears to focus on creating / posting fake videos to presumably go viral and make money through YouTube ads.

It even has a startling, clickbait title – Mobile Phone vs Steel Wool | How Your iPhone Will Damage Your Brain, and the channel even pleads with people to share their video, “before it gets deleted”.

ViralVideoLab also wrote a clickbait (and fictional?) story about not knowing why an incoming call would cause the steel wool to ignite, and invited people to share their opinions in the comments.

Fact #3 : Phone Radiation Cannot Generate Current In Steel Wool

It is simply not possible for electromagnetic (EM) radiation from any phone to create electrical current flow in steel wool.

In fact, you will need to use a 9V battery (see our video), to ignite the steel wool by creating a short circuit between its positive and negative terminals!

You can use other batteries, but the steel wool will have to touch both their positive and negative terminals to form a short circuit.

Fact #4 : Phones Radiate All The Time!

Smartphones and mobile phones are constantly in contact with nearby cell towers, and therefore “radiate” at all time. If your phone’s electromagnetic radiation can set steel wool on fire, it would have done so even without an incoming call!

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Fact #5 : No Evidence Phone Radiation Is Harmful

This and similar videos about the dangers of phone radiation are being used to promote products that claim to block EMF (Electromagnetic Field) radiation from your phone, protecting you from its harms.

Decades of research have shown that there is no clear or consistent evidence that exposure to radio frequency energy from mobile phones has any deleterious effects. As the National Cancer Institute explained:

The only consistently recognized biological effect of radiofrequency radiation absorption in humans … is heating to the area of the body where a cell phone is held (e.g., the ear and head).

However, that heating is not sufficient to measurably increase core body temperature. There are no other clearly established dangerous health effects on the human body from radiofrequency radiation.

Fact #6 : EMF Shielding Your Phone Is Stupid

In addition, your mobile phone relies on transmitting and receiving radio-frequency radiation to connect to cell towers, and make your calls or transfer data.

If you shield your mobile phone from all electromagnetic radiation, then it won’t be able to connect to any cell tower, to make calls or transfer data! What you end up with is an expensive and useless electronic brick!

On top of that, products that partially block EMF radiation from your phone can inadvertently increase the amount of radiation it produces because mobile phones are designed to boost radiation emissions to better connect with the cell tower!

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.


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