The issue of cellphone radiation exposure is a sensitive one.Cellphones usage has exploded in the last decade especially with the release of the Iphone.
However the issue has become muddled as some scientists conduct studies which demonstrate radiation risk while the telecom industry argues that there is no risk associated with cell phone use and therefore no need for protection. The cell phone industry cites studies which show that they is low risk from cell phones.They say that the energy released from cellphones is the low energy non ionizing kind that does not split chemical bonds as higher ionizing energy from nuclear source could. In this case there is no risk of cancer or any other health risk.
However there is suspicion that the telecom industry is affecting research on this issue. There is some research showing that studies which show that cellphones are safe are less rigorous and more likely to be funded by the cellphone industry. In addition, those studies that show that cellphones pose radiation risk are usually better designed and have no financial conflicts of interest.
However there is another side of this story. For example you may never heard of Lloyd Morgan. He is a 68 year old brain cancer survivor from California. He is also an electronic engineer and has educated himself on epidemiology. He has dedicated his life to proving that cellphone radiation is dangerous. He joins other experts who believe that cellphone use can cause brain tumors.
Another scientist, Devra Davis has written a new book Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family” in which this subject is thoroughly queried. The
National Book Award finalist for “When Smoke Ran Like Water” who has spoken before the US Congress on smoking and cancer, cites studies and facts that point to a real concern about cell phone radiation risk and link to brain damage, to cheek cancer and to low sperm counts. Some studies show that keeping the cell phone in ones pocket places a great risk to sperm and male fertility( Placing Laptops on one’s lap is also a health hazard and reduces sperm count in men and also destroys reproductive cells in women).
Devra also notes that many insurance companies REFUSE to insure cell phone companies against health related claims.
Devra also points to a new small print warning on cell phones that states that they should be kept one inch away from the ear.
SAR or “specific absorption rate” (SAR) — is the rate at which energy from a radio frequency electromagnetic field is absorbed by the body. SAR measures the maximum radiation a cellphone emits and NOT the average amount of radiation it emits.
Some studies show that CDMA phones emit a smaller proportion of their maximum radiation output when compared to GSM phones- owing to different frequencies of the two networks. Of 37 studies that have looked into GSM phones 43% were found to have harmful biological impact such as reduction in genes which suppress tumors. 15% of 33 studies that studies CDMA phone showed harmful effects.
GSM and CDMA networks are different for example GSM phones require a SIM card while CDMA phones do not. So if you have a GSM carrier phone like AT&T and T-Mobile, you cannot change to a CDMA network phone. In the US you would have to switch carriers.
The internal or external antennas in devices are the parts that emit a lot of radiation says Wolfgang Kainz, chair of the Computation Techniques subcommittee at the IEEE International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety.
One study in Sweden concluded that people who start using cellphones before they are 20 have 4 to 5 times the odds of developing one type of brain tumor.
There is also a study by the University of Pittsburg that shows that Americans under age 30 have shown an increase in brain tumors. This is the generation that has taken up cellphones in droves.
A 2001 study by researchers at the University of Essen in Germany found that mobiles phone users were three time more likely to develop eye cancer. A 2010 study by researchers in India found that cellphone usage led to early cataracts.
An article in the April 2011 edition of the journal BioElectroMagnetics by Jukka Juutilainen and researchers at the University of Eastern Finland stated that
“While the majority of recent studies have reported no modulation-specific effects, there are a few interesting exceptions indicating that there may be specific effects from amplitude-modulated RF fields on the human central nervous system.
It is also very telling that in May 2011 the World Health Organization (WHO) changed cell phones categorization and placed them into the “carcinogenic” category.( A carcinogen is any substance, radionuclide, or radiation that is an agent directly involved in causing cancer.)
The issue of cell phone radiation risk is also getting attention in highers level of the US government. The Congress and Senate have held hearings on this issue.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) has funded a $25M study to study rats that have been exposed to cellphone radiation for 2 years.
Some US states and cities have passed some laws on the issue.In 2010 the city of San Francisco has a new SAR Right-to-Know law, that requires large retail chains that sell phones to display each phone’s SAR rating.In the state of Maine there may be a new law requiring radiation warning labels on cellphones.
Studies funded by cellphone industry have shown that tumors rate in Scandinavian countries where cellphone use started decades ago show no signs of increased risk. However –it is notable that they limit their studies to those who have used the cellphones for LESS than 10 years.
Cellphones are not the only household items that emit low levels of electromagnetic energy. Cordless phones, baby monitors, radar, micro wave ovens, Am and FM radio all produce radio waves (or radio Frequency energy RF).However the energy levels emitted are low. We also are not in as close proximity to these devices as we are with cell phones- and dont use them as often.
Many Americans are very concerned about radiation exposure.Indeed radiation exposure protection is now a multimillion dollar industry. Consumers are concerned about many sources of radiation in the home and in their work.
The bottom line is that we know cell phones emit radiation – as can be empirically tested and demonstrated. However the question is – is long time exposure to this level of radiation hazardous to ones health? Especially to young kids? If there are inexpensive ways to protect oneself from cellphone radiation exposure then there is no rational reason why one should not.
Here is what you can do.
You should place your cell phone about an inch away from your ear or put it in speaker mode whenever possible.
There are anti radiation head sets for use when using a cell phone.Ken Foster, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania says that“My best advice to consumers: If they are concerned about possible radiation risks from cellphones, use a hands-free kit, which actually does reduce exposure and costs very little.”. Indeed the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) agency agrees and states: “Although evidence shows little or no risk of brain tumors for most long-term users of cellphones … people who want to reduce their RF exposure can: reduce the amount of time spent on the cellphone, and use speaker mode or a headset to place more distance between the head and the cellphone.”
There are anti radiation cell phone cases that reduce or divert radiation away from the body. For example the Pong radiation reduction case for Iphone 4 have proven to divert radiation away from the body.
There are also Ipad cases in the market that can reduce radiation. Again the “Pong”company has the best quality cases. ArsTechnica’s Jon Phillips actually visited an FCC compliance lab, Cetecom Inc, to observe the testing of the Pong anti-radiation cases .He found that the cases do what they say ( reduce radiation and increase 3G signal) You can read his technical findings here.
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