Mobile phone masts or towers are not the only dangers to health because of the radiation they emit but cellular phones may also pose danger to one’s health.
The effect of mobile phone radiation on human health is the subject of recent interest and study, and as a result of the enormous increase in mobile phone usage throughout the world (as of June 2009), there were more than 4.3 billion subscriptions worldwide.
Mobile phones use electromagnetic radiation in the microwave range.
Other digital wireless systems, such as data communication networks, produce similar radiation.
The World Health Organi-sation (WHO) has classified mobile phone radiation on the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) scale into Group 2B – possibly carcinogenic.
A carcinogen denotes any substance, or radiation that is an agent directly involved in causing cancer.
This means there ‘could be some risk’ of carcinogenicity, so additional research into the long-term, heavy use of mobile phones needs to be conducted.
Some national radiation advisory authorities have recommended measures to minimise exposure to their citizens as a precautionary approach.
The issues of radiation and their dangers are well known to the kingdom’s Consumer Association, and the chairman Bongani Mdluli, on Tuesday this week made it known that the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology needed a commission of inquiry to look into this.
There is growing concern internationally that the radiation from gadgets like the cellphone and cell-phone masts or towers needed to be minimised.
Many scientific studies have investigated possible health symptoms of mobile phone radiation. These studies are occasionally reviewed by some scientific committees to assess overall risks.
A recent assessment was published in 2007 by the European Commission Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR).
Part of the radio waves emitted by a mobile telephone handset are absorbed by the human head.
The radio waves emitted by a GSM handset can have a peak power of two watts, and a US analogue phone had a maximum transmit power of 3.6 watts.
The maximum power output from a mobile phone is regulated by the mobile phone standard and by the regulatory agencies in each country.
In most systems the cellphone and the base station check reception quality and signal strength and the power level is increased or decreased automatically, within a certain span, to accommodate different situations, such as inside or outside buildings and vehicles.
The rate at which radiation is absorbed by the human body is measured by the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), and its maximum levels of modern handsets have been set by governmental regulating agencies in many countries.
In 2006, a large Danish study about the connection between mobile phone use and cancer incidence was published.
It followed over 420 000 Danish citizens for 20 years and showed no increased risk of cancer.
The German Federal Office for Radiation Protection (Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz) considers this report inconclusive.
A 2009 study examined the effects of exposure to Radio Frequency Radiation (RFR) emitted by standard GSM cell phones on the cognitive functions of humans.
The study confirmed longer (slower) response times to a spatial working memory task when exposed to RFR from a standard GSM cellular phone placed next to the head of male subjects, and showed that longer duration of exposure to RFR may increase the effects on performance.
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