Okay, all you expat and gyopo skeptics, time to get out your hats and start munching. US climatology expert Dr. Laurence Kalkstein was in Seoul for a seminar on heat waves and explained the science of how fans kill:
“선풍기로 인한 사망 사고는 대부분 70대 이상 노인에게 발생했으며 주로 밀폐된 방에서 선풍기를 틀고 자다 숨졌다”며 “이는 지금까지 우리가 알고 있는 것과 달리 질식사나 저체온증이 아니다”라고 말했다.
“In a majority of fan death cases, the victim is an elderly person over 70 years old who died in their sleep in an enclosed room with a fan running. Differing from what we know up to now, it’s not suffocation or hypothermia.”
그는 “실내온도가 높을 때 밀폐된 곳에서 선풍기를 틀면 방안의 열기가 사람에게 집중돼 오히려 더 체온이 높아진다”며 “여기에 노출된 피부에 선풍기 바람이 지나가면서 몸의 수분을 빼앗아 결국 심장마비와 뇌졸중, 호흡곤란으로 사망하게 된다”고 설명했다.
He continued, “If a fan is run inside an enclosed room where the indoor temperature is high, the heat is concentrated on the person, so the body temperature actually rises,” further explaining that, “As fan air blows on exposed skin, the body becomes dehydrated, resulting in a heart attack or stroke and death from respiration difficulties.”
미국 환경보호국은 선풍기를 반드시 창문이나 방문 등 외부와 공기가 통하는 곳에 설치하고 밀폐된 방에서 오래 사용하면 안된다고 경고하고 있다.
The US Environmental Protection Agency advises that windows and doors remain open to circulate air and not to use a fan for long periods in an enclosed room.
*translation note: I had a little difficulty with the sentence “Differing from what we know up to now, it’s not suffocation or hypothermia.” Although it’s a direct quote in the story and was translated as such, the comment discounting suffocation and hypothermia was likely in response to a question, and thus, the “we” in “differing from what we know…” probably refers to Koreans, not experts like Dr. Kalkstein, who I’m pretty sure never believed that fans could suck up oxygen.
The Wiki entry on fan death notes US expert opinions that fans can accelerate hyperthermia when used in spaces with very high temperatures.
HTs to two fellow bloggers who thought the story blogworthy but didn’t have the time to translate it.