Safety Share: some iPhones vulnerable to helium exposure
Several people at Argonne have reported their iPhones have unexpectedly shut down in the Building 314 High Bay — problems that were traced to helium gas.
As reported to the Argonne Safety group via firstname.lastname@example.org, the isolated occurrences took place
during one of the activities within Building 314 involving transfer of large quantities of cryogenic helium which results is the venting of gas.
Helium has the potential to interrupt the function of the particular models of iPhones (iPhone 8 and iPhone X).The phones shut down after exposure to even low levels of gas, but recover in three to four days. The phenomenon is being reported at other institutions as well.
The iPhone user guide includes this information:
“Explosive and other atmospheric conditions. Charging or using iPhone in any area with a potentially explosive atmosphere, such as areas where the air contains high levels of flammable chemicals, vapors, or particles (such as grain, dust, or metal powders), may be hazardous. Exposing iPhone to environments having high concentrations of industrial chemicals, including near evaporating liquified gasses such as helium, may damage or impair iPhone functionality. Obey all signs and instructions.”
Signs will be posted in applicable environments so that laboratory managers and building occupants, including visitors, are aware of the environment situation.
This Safety Share is courtesy of Environment, Safety, Health & Quality.