As for practical advice, the Health Ministry says that when
using a portable phone of any type, it is better to use the
speakerphone than to put the handset to your ear. Don't
install the base unit of a cordless phone in the bedroom,
children's room or office, where you spend much of your
time. If the handset isn't in use, return it to the base
unit (the charger ), because the whole time it's not on that
base unit it's emitting radiation.
The recommendations were consolidated by Prof. Sigal
Sadetzki, director of the cancer unit at the Gertner
Institute for Epidemiology and Health Policy Research at
Sheba Medical Center. Sadetzki is the Israeli researcher who
participated in the international Interphone study, which
investigated the correlation between illness and the use of
mobile phones. The study, published about two months ago,
did not find that 10 years of cell-phone usage led to a
greater chance of developing malignant or benign tumors in
the brain, among users speaking less than 30 minutes a day.
But it also concluded that "heavy users" - which means they
speak at least 30 minutes a day on their mobile phones - do
have a 40% greater chance of developing a brain tumor.
So why would the ministry publish a warning about cordless
phones now? There are no new studies out, says Sadetzki. But
following the outcome of the Interphone study and the fact
that Israelis are very heavy cellular users, ministry
officials thought it appropriate to advise the public that
cordless phones also emit non-ionizing radiation, just like
"Not everybody realizes that while at home, people are
exposed to the same non-ionizing radiation emitted by cell
phones," Sadetzki says.
If anything, Stelian Gelberg, head of the noise and
radiation abatement division at the Environmental Protection
Ministry, claims exposure to cordless phones can actually be
worse than cell phones.
Cell phone emissions vary according to distance from the
antenna, he explains, while cordless phones emit the same
intensity of radiation all the time, irrespective of their
distance from the base unit. Mix in length of phone calls
from the comfort of your home, and you wind up with greater
exposure from cordless phones, he says.
Eurocom Digital Communications, which sells a variety of
portable phones, said that all its Digital Enhanced Cordless
Telecommunications (DECT ) phones meet international
standards, including the ones set by the Communications
Ministry. Their new phones also have an eco-mode function
that adapts the transmission level from the base unit
according to its distance from the handset and the
conditions, thus reducing transmission strength by as much
as 90%, the company added.
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