Expiration dates are not printed on gas cylinders.
Hundreds of shares have been shared on Facebook posts stating that liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders have coded expiry dates etched on them, making them a “time bomb” if stored in the house.
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The assertion is untrue; experts clarify that the imprints are future inspection dates, not expiry dates, that signal when a cylinder should be tested to ensure it is safe to use again.
“Did you know that the gas cylinder you have in your kitchen is a time bomb, ready to explode at any moment?” asks a Nigerian Facebook post, which has been shared over 180 times. In Kenya, the post was also shared.
On August 11, 2020, a screenshot of the fake Facebook post was captured.
It states that each gas cylinder has an expiration date, and that those that have “expired” are dangerous to keep in the house.
“The expiration date is coded in alphabetical order on the side of the LPG Cylinder, A,B,C,D in quarters (sic),” the message continues.
Each quarter is stated to symbolize a three-month period (March, June, September, and December), followed by a year of expiration.
This numbering scheme, on the other hand, is utilized to signify a future inspection date. Here are other examples of similar Facebook posts.
The identical claim was made on YouTube (in 2015) and Twitter (in 2016). The Indian Oil Corporation refuted the claim in 2016, stating that “there is no expiry date for LPG cylinders.”
“In most cases, the term expiry refers to the shelf life of perishable products, which is the recommended time for safe storage and use of such products within the time limit… As a result, LPG cylinders have no expiration date,” according to the statement.
A picture of a statement from the Indian Oil Corporation in 2016 disputing that gas cylinders have expiration dates.
A search of the internet also turned up a 2017 news item from an Indian publication portraying the allegation as one that occurs every year in the Asian country.
Unlike perishable products, which have a shelf life, gas cylinders undergo inspections to ensure that they adhere to defined safety requirements, according to Michael Wasike, an engineer at Chemigas, a gas plant in Nairobi.
“On Kenya, the cylinders are intended to be used in the market for eight years before being tested again,” Wasike added over the phone.
Gas cylinders are subjected to “visual checks for dents, corrosion, etc., a date check to ensure the cylinder is not due for requalification, and a tare weight check to guarantee the correct amount of LPG is loaded into the cylinder,”.
According to David Tyler, director of the World Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association (WLPGA) in France, in an email to AFP Fact Check.
What do the different codes mean?
The codes inscribed with letters and numbers indicate the next due date for each cylinder to undergo testing or inspection, according to an Indian Oil Corporation press release.
It does not imply that the cylinder will automatically run out of gas, nor does it imply that the gas bottle is a “time bomb.”
“Cylinders labelled A 2017 are scheduled for testing in the first quarter of 2017 (between January and March).” Similarly, B 2017 indicates that they will be tested in the second quarter of 2017 (between April and June).
Similarly, C (from July to September) represents the third quarter, and D (from October to December) represents the fourth quarter,” according to the press release.
Precautions for safety
Nonetheless, Tyler advised consumers to use caution when handling LPG cylinders at home, ensuring that the regulator is properly installed on the valve and that it, as well as the hose and appliance, are in excellent working order.
“Consumers should also examine all joints with soapy water for leaks and, most importantly, ensure there is adequate airflow for complete combustion,” Tyler advised.
A myth that gas cylinders explode if shook was previously refuted by AFP Fact Check.
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