There are over 4 billion cell phone users throughout the world today – that's about 4 people out of every 6 living on this planet and owning a cell phone, subscribed to a cellular phone plan, or living with someone who owns a mobile phone. The ubiquity of wireless phones brings to the fore certain issues related to this device, like cell phone dangers to human health.
All mobile phones, when turned on, emit electromagnetic radiation in the microwave radio frequency range. It is this cell phone radiation, as it is absorbed by human tissue (most commonly in the head, as you place the phone next to your ear when you talk) that has come under intense scrutiny this past decade. Several epidemiological and experimental studies have associated prolonged cell phone use to sleeping disorder, cognitive problems, headaches, stress, brain tumors, and cancer.
Experiment Without Controls
On the other hand, studies with opposing results and observations have also been published. CTIA, the wireless industry's lobbying association pointed out to studies or statements from the World Health Organization (WHO), the American Cancer Society, and the FDA downplaying potential cell phone dangers, "all have concurred that wireless devices are not a public health risk."
But, as Professor Devra Davis, at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute explains, "the latency between exposure and brain cancer could be 20 or 30 years" and by using cellular devices without any clear understanding of cell phone dangers, "we are basically treating ourselves like lab rats in an experiment without any controls"
The verdict is still out, obviously, but are you willing to take the risk?
Today, at the Consumer Electronics Show 2010 in Las Vegas, a company called Pong Research has announced the availability of a product called Pong™ BlackBerry Curve™ Case which claims to reduce users' exposure to mobile phone radiation by 60%. Until this product is introduced by other manufacturers to cover other brands and will be marketed widely, however, we all just have to take certain precautionary measures to protect ourselves from suspected cell phone dangers:
Keep your cell phone away from your body. The greatest exposure to cellular phone radiation is when it is 6 inches or less from any body part.
Text more, talk less. Take only the most important calls or make the least amount of calls on your phone and transmit messages through SMS.
Use headset or speakerphone function. wireless phone radiation is emitted directly from a unit's built-in antenna. Using a headset ensures that the actual cell phone is located away from your head, which can easily absorb EMF radiation.
Use your land line. It's definitely safer to talk on the land line than on a mobile phone, because this lessens your exposure to radiation.
Turn off your cell phone while charging. Not only will you charge your phone faster, it will also cut down on radiation emission from your cell to which everyone in your house or office is exposed to.
Purchase or use phones that have been certified or tested to emit the least amount of radiation. The Environmental Working Group has prepared an exhaustive list covering over 1,000 phones currently in the market, and they have come up with a list of the 10 best phones (with least radiation output) to use.
Keep cellular phones away from children. Children's skulls are thinner and their brains are less dense than adult brains, radio frequency signals can penetrate deeper into a child's brain than in an adult's.
“There’s a greater concern for children because the life-time exposure will be much higher,” says Jane Houlihan of the Environmental Working Group. In the United States, as many as seven in ten children between the ages of 12 and 17 own a mobile phone, and half use them daily, according to the New York Times.
At the moment, there is no conclusive, peer-reviewed evidence that points to cell phone dangers from radiation exposure. The science is evolving on this subject, but if we must err, it should be on the side of caution. When it comes to our health and those of our children, nothing should be left to chance, let's always protect ourselves.
Michael Arms contributes articles on cell phone dangers and other mobile phone-related issues at the Pacebutler Recycling and Environment Blog. You can sell, recycle, or donate cell phones through Pacebutler Corporation, a US-based cellular phone trading and refurbishing company.
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About the Author
Occupation: IT Manager and blogger
Michael Arms writes for the Pacebutler Recycling and Environmental blog and maintains several recycling and other environmental lenses in Squidoo. Pacebutler Corporation is one of several US trading companies which buy used cell phones directly from US cell phone users. You can also donate cell phones to your preferred charity or non-profit through Pacebutler.