Health Hazards of Mobile Phone Use

Mobile Phone Radiation, Mobile Phone Protection

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Start Here: Separate Fact From Fantasy

Debate and controversy, surrounding the potential cell phone health risks, have grown new legs in the last decade. Fill the world with millions of portable radio wave emitters and some people grow jumpy. Technically speaking wireless hand held phones emit low levels of radio frequencies (RFs) into the environment around us. The culprit for most emissions is the phone’s antenna, internal or external, which sits very close to the user’s head when used as a hand-held device.
Understand the Basics of Cell Phone Emissions

To understand the proposed health and safety risks you must understand the basics of wireless communications. Electromagnetic radiation is a complex topic for most typical consumers to dip into too deeply. The very term “radiation” sparks fears. All types of electronic devices, particularly those that run on radio waves, emit levels of radio frequencies. The rates at which these frequencies are absorbed by the human body are measured by the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), a number assigned to every model of cell phone sold in the U.S. The acceptable SAR rate is anything under 1.6 watts per kilogram. Confused? You’re not alone.

The Food and Drug Administration, in concert with the Federal Communications Commission, controls the flow of most mainstream consumer information in the U.S. on this topic. Both agencies maintain closely allied policies on the matter: as far as scientific studies show the kind of low-level RFs released by cell phones seem to pose no significant health risks, but further research is necessary.

About Studies, Research, and Scare Tactics

You’ve likely heard a scare story—that someone’s cell phone gave him or her brain cancer. Stories like these surface occasionally in mainstream media only to impel yet another round of short-term studies. Scientists and researchers are constrained by limited studies that bypass theoretical scientific research, which is most successful when carried out over the long term. The only conclusive argument is that further studies on cell phone emissions are necessary.
Safety Precautions You Need to Know About

The mixed sentiment from the FCC and FDA drives other sources such as Consumer Reports to recommend consumers take safety precautions with cell phone products and educate their children on the potential risks. But to what sources do you ally yourself?

Debunk Cell Phone Health Information

There is a cacophony of information on cell phone emissions, RFs, and SAR metrics. Learn to employ critical thinking to everything you read and hear on the subject. Even the FDA—an authority figure—waffles on the subject of cell phone emissions. You must learn to tiptoe your way through the minefield of outlandish “medical” allegations, scientific aberrations, inconclusive research projects, and even crackpot urban legends that prey on human fears.

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5 Tips To Limit Your Cell Phone Risk

Cell Phone Risk, Cell Phone Radiation Protection

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Cell Phone Towers Health Effects

Cell Phone Sensitivity

EM Field Meter

“I hope you’re talking to me on a speakerphone,” Devra Davis barks at me when I call her on my cell phone. “You’d better not be holding that phone up to your head.”

Indeed, I’m not. This is a good thing, because you don’t want to get into an argument with Davis on this subject. She’s the director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Environmental Oncology, and her group recently put out
recommendations that we should be using a speakerphone or ear piece. The report says children, who have thinner skulls and developing brains, should use cell phones only in case of emergency.

And heaven forbid anyone should carry a cell phone in a pocket or clipped to a belt. “You’re just roasting your bone marrow,” Davis said.

Oh, boy. Another thing to worry about. Or maybe Davis is an alarmist. It’s so hard to tell. Although there are many large studies showing no connection between mobile phones and cancer, there are a few that do. As Davis puts it, do you really want to play Russian roulette with your head?

But if you do buy the cellphones-cause-cancer argument, you have to figure out the best way to talk on a cell phone, seeing as how most of us can’t live without them. Should you use the wired headset that came with your phone? A Bluetooth earpiece? iReport.com: Does your kid have a cell phone?

I embarked on a journey this past week to answer these questions and at many points have been very sorry I did. This is the mother of all “the jury is still out” issues.

Cell phones have been wildly popular for only a matter of years, and it can take at least a decade for cancers to show up. Studies contradict each other, and scientists bicker: Some will tell you with great conviction that there’s nothing to worry about. Others will tell you with equal conviction that an epidemic of brain tumors may be just around the corner.

The cell phone industry itself says “the overwhelming majority of studies that have been published in scientific journals around the globe show that wireless phones do not pose a health risk.” You can this week.So what are we all to do until they figure it out? After enough interviews with physicists, engineers and doctors to make me want to stick my head in a microwave oven, one common line of reasoning emerged.

Cell phones do emit radiation. No one knows definitively whether it’s enough to worry about.

Mobile phones meet federal safety limits, but if you’re still worried, there are some simple steps you can take to lower your exposure to radiation.

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