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Natural background radiation

We are all exposed to some amount of radiation just from being on this planet. This is known as background radiation. For most people, background radiation accounts for most of their exposure to ionizing radiation during the year. It comes from several different sources.

Cosmic rays: Cosmic rays are radioactive particles that hit the earth from outer space. They come from the sun and from other stars. The earth’s atmosphere blocks a portion of these rays, but some of them reach the ground. Because the atmosphere blocks some cosmic rays, exposure is greater at higher altitudes. For example, people who live in Denver, Colorado, which is at a high elevation, are exposed to slightly more cosmic rays than people living at sea level. People are also exposed to higher levels of cosmic rays during airplane flights. Airline pilots and flight attendants, who spend many hours at high elevations, are exposed to more of these rays, but it is not clear if they have an increased risk of cancer because of it.

Radiation in the earth: People are also exposed to small amounts of radiation from radioactive elements that occur naturally in rocks and soil. Some of these may end up in building materials used in houses and other structures. Tiny amounts of radiation may even be found in drinking water and in some plant-based foods as a result of being in contact with the soil. For people who smoke, tobacco can account for a significant portion of the yearly radiation they receive.
Radon: The largest source of natural background radiation for most people is radon. This is an odorless, colorless gas that is formed from the breakdown of radioactive elements in the ground. Radon levels are usually higher inside buildings and homes, especially in levels closer to the ground such as basements. Radon levels can vary a great deal, depending on where you live. For more detailed information on radon and its possible health effects, see our document, Radon.

Medical radiation

Ionizing radiation is used in the diagnosis and treatment of some medical conditions. This can be in the form of radiation that penetrates from outside the body, or radioactive particles that are swallowed or inserted into the body.
Imaging tests: Certain types of imaging tests, such as x-rays, CT scans, and nuclear medicine tests (such as PET scans and bone scans) expose people to low levels of radiation in order to create internal pictures of the body. (MRI and ultrasound exams do not use ionizing radiation.)

The increased risk of cancer from exposure to any single test is likely to be very small. Still, concerns have been raised in recent years as the average amount of radiation a person is exposed to from medical tests has risen. Children’s growing bodies are especially sensitive to radiation.

Because of the very small but real risk, and the fact that radiation exposure from all sources can add up over one’s lifetime, imaging tests that use radiation should only be done if there is a good medical reason to do so. The usefulness of the test must always be balanced against the possible risks from exposure to the radiation. In some cases, other imaging tests such as ultrasound or MRI may be an option. But if there is a reason to believe that an x-ray or CT scan is the best way to look for cancer or other diseases, the patient will most likely be helped more than the small dose of radiation can hurt.

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Next to the thermal effect is non-thermal effect, in which keeping the temperature generated by radio waves constant we discuss only the electric current that passes through the cell membrane, while transceiving messages, and finally the genotoxical effect, which has been included in the discussion in 2006. Researches by Greek scientists, Panagopoulos DJ, Chavdoula ED, Nezis IP, and Margaritis LH (2007 Jan) claimed that there’s a casual relationship between cell phone radiation and DNA damage. Later a European study REFLEX had come up with some evidences proving the claim, but all the cases were found to have an exposure to mobile phone quite more than normal.

Besides thermal, non-thermal, and genotoxial effects, there had been a long debate on ‘mobile phone radiations and cancer’. A list of studies supporting the claim and rest opposing has also been observed in this context.
The other face of picture shows the effect of radio waves emitted by base stations. This is another sensitive issue as these waves are emitted continuously, and the increasing number of towers to expand the coverage with a relatively larger bandwidth. The recent reports claim harmful effects of radio waves on peoples’ health living near by the base stations (WHO database). Besides such kind of effect there may be some occasional hazards that may be caused by the ignorance or due to the demand of extreme perfection. For instance during maintenance, the base stations are not turned of, as it may present the network as an inefficient one. This sort of mismanagements would certainly have hazardous effects on the health of people come under the range of waves.

Categorizing hazards may sort out the level of harmful effects generally but being specific to the use of mobile phones it may explore more avenues. The increased use of mobile phones due to technological progress and decreased prices as a result of low cost of production, contribute to the GDPs, but an alarming situation, ignored most of the time is children’s vulnerability to mobile phone radiations. Being an age group, which is in the process of physical and mental growth, they need extra care, but stringent work schedules of parent and the availability of mobile phones for their use may affect their mental and physical growth in any of the above-mentioned way.

Over and above the facts unveiled earlier, there’s no regulation of services in the cellular networks. The problem may persist in a very low proportion in developed countries but the developing countries though being the biggest markets for cellular networks, are not provided the health safety measures, i.e. the use of cell phone in best possible way. Another alarm may persist in the form availability of low quality handsets in these countries, which are either not passed by any regulatory authority or if so, the authenticity of authority might have been questionable.

The debate is all about the hazardous effects of cell phones on human health, but saying that cell phones are hazardous in totality won’t be fair enough. There’s nothing 100% in the world, and there’s always a room for improvement, and betterment, so is the case for cellular phone technology. We can’t leave it as well, but a fair better option is to keep a regulation and check on usage. Cell phone communication does include the emission of radio waves, which are absorbed by the bodies in one way or other, but it’s a hazard only for people with high exposure to the radio waves, i.e. extensive use.

In order to have healthy masses it’s crucial to have regulation of all cellular activities, along with insistence on sustainable growth in the sector. The precautionary principle as recommended by WHO can also be a good measure, but as the sped up life can’t exclude cellular technology from its sphere, further research on hand-off and blue tooth can be innovative and more sustainable measures.

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Next to the thermal effect is non-thermal effect, in which keeping the temperature generated by radio waves constant we discuss only the electric current that passes through the cell membrane, while transceiving messages, and finally the genotoxical effect, which has been included in the discussion in 2006. Researches by Greek scientists, Panagopoulos DJ, Chavdoula ED, Nezis IP, and Margaritis LH (2007 Jan) claimed that there’s a casual relationship between cell phone radiation and DNA damage. Later a European study REFLEX had come up with some evidences proving the claim, but all the cases were found to have an exposure to mobile phone quite more than normal.

Besides thermal, non-thermal, and genotoxial effects, there had been a long debate on ‘mobile phone radiations and cancer’. A list of studies supporting the claim and rest opposing has also been observed in this context.

The other face of picture shows the effect of radio waves emitted by base stations. This is another sensitive issue as these waves are emitted continuously, and the increasing number of towers to expand the coverage with a relatively larger bandwidth. The recent reports claim harmful effects of radio waves on peoples’ health living near by the base stations (WHO database). Besides such kind of effect there may be some occasional hazards that may be caused by the ignorance or due to the demand of extreme perfection. For instance during maintenance, the base stations are not turned of, as it may present the network as an inefficient one. This sort of mismanagements would certainly have hazardous effects on the health of people come under the range of waves.

Categorizing hazards may sort out the level of harmful effects generally but being specific to the use of mobile phones it may explore more avenues. The increased use of mobile phones due to technological progress and decreased prices as a result of low cost of production, contribute to the GDPs, but an alarming situation, ignored most of the time is children’s vulnerability to mobile phone radiations. Being an age group, which is in the process of physical and mental growth, they need extra care, but stringent work schedules of parent and the availability of mobile phones for their use may affect their mental and physical growth in any of the above-mentioned way.

Over and above the facts unveiled earlier, there’s no regulation of services in the cellular networks. The problem may persist in a very low proportion in developed countries but the developing countries though being the biggest markets for cellular networks, are not provided the health safety measures, i.e. the use of cell phone in best possible way. Another alarm may persist in the form availability of low quality handsets in these countries, which are either not passed by any regulatory authority or if so, the authenticity of authority might have been questionable.

The debate is all about the hazardous effects of cell phones on human health, but saying that cell phones are hazardous in totality won’t be fair enough. There’s nothing 100% in the world, and there’s always a room for improvement, and betterment, so is the case for cellular phone technology. We can’t leave it as well, but a fair better option is to keep a regulation and check on usage. Cell phone communication does include the emission of radio waves, which are absorbed by the bodies in one way or other, but it’s a hazard only for people with high exposure to the radio waves, i.e. extensive use.

In order to have healthy masses it’s crucial to have regulation of all cellular activities, along with insistence on sustainable growth in the sector. The precautionary principle as recommended by WHO can also be a good measure, but as the sped up life can’t exclude cellular technology from its sphere, further research on hand-off and blue tooth can be innovative and more sustainable measures. ‘

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Mobile Phone Radiation & Health Part 1

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The sped up feature of day-to-day life and increasing demand for perfection in maximum possible spheres of life along with the ultimate desire of comfort and ease has lead us to the heights of development in contemporary times. All these factors are not only the driving forces of economic development round the globe but also the speedometers of standard of living in a particular region, country or area. The only thing that deploys the essence of this development is the unavailability of sustainable growth. On one hand where we’re touching the skies of mega and cellular technology, we’re losing list of essentials, i.e. health.

Setting cellular technology the theme of discussion let’s have an overview of it. One of the major examples of cellular technology, i.e. the mobile phone system is in question for a long time. Both the technology concerns and the social scientists had agreed to differ. And it’s still a vexed question. Cellular phone services being the easiest and fastest modes of communication have billions have billions of subscribers round the world. Even in developing countries where a major part of population is striving hard to satisfy basic needs, i.e. food and clothing, use of mobile phone have become a necessity for them.

Mobile phones use cellular technology whereby the regions are covered by radio waves using a base station antenna as a transmitter and the handset as receiver. Cellular technology is the better option in a sense that it provides better coverage, increased capacity and reduced power usage. Both the digital GSM and the CDMA systems share this base. The point that’s been raised more by the social scientists and health concerns is the effect of radio waves on health. These radio waves are emitted by both handsets and base stations.

With reference to the handsets, the effect of radio waves emitted by the cell phone communication, especially with specific reference to human health, can be categorized as, thermal, non thermal and genotoxical. Thermal effect is one whereby the electromagnetic field of radio waves induces polar molecules that generates dielectric heat letting the live tissues die. For instance some part of head, while receiving the message through radio waves if happens to experience increased temperature can have damaged nerve fibers.

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Cell Phone Radiation, Cancer, and Carpal Tunnel Part 2

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Cell Phone Radiation, Cancer, and Carpal Tunnel Part 1

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Picture the inside of your wrist. Your wrist is a circular bone. Inside of your wrist there is a spinal cord running from your arm to your hand. Every one of the million times a day that you hit a key on your keyboard your hand moves down and the circular wrist bone hits the wrist spinal cord. Then the wrist spinal cord get inflamed and injured and the carpal tunnel person has arrived to ruin your life. The prevention and the cure is to stop your hand from moving down. You do this by going out to the store and buying two nicely fitting wrist splints with an iron bar running along the bottom which prevents your hand from moving down every time you hit the keys.

The key to happiness in life is to eliminate all of the men. Now that we can freeze sperm and clone who needs them? They buy you a new computer, profess their undying love to you and a month later they can’t remember your name. Another cool trick is to forget the proper way of typing. Begin to hunt and peck and never use your thumbs. The second that you use your thumb your hand rolls over and you are well on your way to Carpalville Ohio. It is also bad to use a roll mouse because rolling down the page leads to index finger pain which can easily add 6 shots to your handicap.

Your computer monitor and hard drive and cell phone are all giving off cancer causing radiation which causes stress, irritability, erectile dysfunction and finally cancer. It is well known that cell phones cause brain cancer. The antenna placed close to your head in frying your brain. The cell phone makers know this and market their most expensive models like Carol Alt as having the least amount of radiation. If you go to the health show in your city you will find booths with people selling little metallic circular stickers which when placed on your monitor and hard drive and cell phone actually eliminate the deadly radiation. In your search engine boxes type in cell phone radiation and you will find the solution to the problem that you didn’t even know that you had.

People think that because they cannot see something like a radio signal that it doesn’t exist. Here is a coded message to all Al Qaeda members: Don’t be fooled by the rocks that I got, I’m still Jen Jen Jenny from the block. Osama Bin Laden is sitting in his cave grooving to the new J Lo DVD but his doctor Ayman Al Zwahiri can’t do a darn thing for his carpal tunnel syndrome.

All of that instant messaging with Jenna Bush as he pretends to be Professor Ernst Kirkland from the Kabul Institute of Technology has finally caught up with him. What the combined forces of Britain and the United States could not do Steve Jobs has done. He has brought Osama Bin Laden to his knees. And those are the bees knees. Attention all CIA agents. Bees are little insects that fly around biting people.

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Skin Rash? Maybe It’s Your Cell Phone

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If you have noticed an increase in skin rashes or allergic reactions to dust mites and pollen, your cell phone may be to blame. In what researchers called surprising results, a study indicates radiation emitted by mobile phones may increase allergic reactions.

Cell Phone Radiation?

Dr. Hajime Kimata from Unitika Hospital, Kyoto, Japan believes microwaves emitted by mobile handsets can ‘excite’ antigens – substances which cause allergic reactions – in the bloodstreams of people who already suffer from allergies. Dr. Kimata tested 52 people who had a history of allergies. They all watched a one-hour video — half of them while talking on their mobile phones and the other half with their phones turned off.

“When we did blood tests we found that the mobile phones had raised the levels of certain chemicals in the blood which provoke allergic reactions such as eczema, hay fever and asthma,” Kimata said. “We were surprised but we carried out a properly controlled study. One group of patients had their phones turned on and receiving for an hour while they watched a video. The second group watched the same video while having their phones turned off so they couldn’t receive calls. There was a significant increase in allergy levels which seemed to be linked to the use of mobile phones.”

Further testing indicated that the group using mobile phones also had greater skin reactions when exposed to house dust mites or pollen from cedar trees.

Previous testing of mobile phones has resulted in contradictory claims concerning their affect on the health of their users. In a British study two years ago, researchers could find no evidence that mobile phones cause any risks to health, but recommended caution in using handsets, especially for children.

Earlier this year, researchers in Sweden claimed that mobile phones could damage key brain cells and trigger the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Radiation from mobile phone handsets appeared to damage areas of the brain associated with learning, memory and movement in laboratory rats.

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Mobile phones damage key brain cells and could trigger the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease, a study suggests.
Researchers in Sweden have found that radiation from cell phone handsets damages areas of the brain associated with learning, memory and movement.

The study, which was carried out on rats, is the latest twist in the long-running debate over whether cell phones are a health risk.

Scientists have yet to find any conclusive evidence that cell phones damage the human brain. This latest study was carried out by Professor Leif Salford and colleagues at Lund University in Malmo.

Lab tests
They experimented on rats aged between 12 and 26 weeks. Their brains are regarded as being in the same stage of development as teenagers. The rats were exposed to two hours of radiation, equivalent to that emitted by cell phones.
Their brains were examined under a microscope 50 days later. The researchers found that rats which had been exposed to medium and high levels of radiation had an abundance of dead brain cells.

Professor Salford said there was good reason to believe that cell phones could have the same effect on humans. “A rat’s brain is very much the same as a human’s. They have the same blood-brain barrier and neurons,” he told BBC News Online. “We have good reason to believe that what happens in rat’s brains also happens in humans.”
Professor Salford said that there was also a chance exposure to cell phone radiation could trigger Alzheimer’s disease in some people. “What we are saying is those neurons that are already prone to Alzheimer’s disease may be stimulated earlier in life.

However, this theory is hypothetical. We do not have evidence yet that the human brain is affected in this way.”

The study is published in Environmental Health Perspectives – the journal of the US government’s National Health Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Writing in the journal, the researchers concluded: “We cannot exclude that after some decades of often daily use, a whole generation of users may suffer negative effects maybe already in their middle age.”

Further research

Professor Salford said cell phone users should not be alarmed by the findings. “This is a negative finding and yes it doesn’t seem to be particularly good.” But this is one observation, in one laboratory with a small number of animals. This study will have to be repeated before we get alarmed.

“Nevertheless, it is strong enough to merit more research into this area.” But he added: “Perhaps putting a cell phone repeatedly to your head is something that might not be good in the long term.” “Maybe we should think about restricting our use of cell phones.”

A UK-government funded study, published three years ago, found no evidence to suggest mobile phones affect health.
However, the report by the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones recommended that teenagers should only make essential calls and that these should be as short as possible.

A spokeswoman for the Mobile Operators Association dismissed this latest study. She said: “Independent scientific review bodies in the UK and around the world have consistently concluded that the weight of scientific evidence to date suggests that exposure to radio waves from cell phones operating within the international exposure guidelines do not cause health problems.”

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Cell Phone Use, Brain Damage and Cancer Researchers Keep Finding Links Part 1

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Last year, a well-circulated Swedish study found that people using cell phones doubled their risk of developing brain cancer and acoustic neuroma (a tumor that damages your hearing nerve).

The study also showed that people who started using cell phones before the age of 20 were more than five times as likely to develop brain cancer.

The European Parliament responded by voting 522 to 16 to urge ministers across Europe to impose stricter limits for exposure to radiation from mobile and cordless phones, wi-fi and other radiation-generating devices — in part because children are particularly vulnerable to the risk.

Dr. Gerd Oberfeld, M.D., the Speaker for Environmental Medicine for the Austrian Medical Association in Vienna, Austria says: The scientific data show, with a high degree of confidence, that mobile phone exposure is associated with an increased brain tumor risk.

The age group below 20 years is facing the greatest risk, which for malignant (deadly) brain tumors is about 400 percent, compared to non-exposed.

When we take the long latency period of up to some decades into account, and the fact that large parts of our society, and especially more and more teenagers and even children are using mobile phones on a daily basis, we may well expect a brain tumor epidemic.

From a public health perspective there is an urgent need not only for a wake-up call for our society, but for measures that are able to combat this public health threat effectively, now.”

The cell phone industry’s standard comment has been that “the peer-reviewed scientific evidence has overwhelmingly indicated that wireless devices do not pose a public health risk.”

This report exposes that statement for the lie that it is.

In fact, there’s no shortage of evidence showing that cell phone use (and other wireless devices) can be dangerous to your health, and to your child in particular.

As this new report points out, even some of the industry’s own research found that cell phones caused brain tumors, and subsequent industry-funded studies from 2000 to 2002 also showed an elevated risk of brain cancer.

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Cell Phones & Cancer – Studies In Humans? Part 1

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About 30 studies have looked at possible links between cell phone use and tumors. Most of these studies have focused on brain tumors. Many of these have been case-control studies, in which patients with brain tumors (cases) were compared to people free of brain tumors (controls), in terms of their past use of cell phones.

In general, these studies have yielded similar results:
• In most studies patients with brain tumors do not report more cell phone use overall than the controls. This finding is true when all brain tumors are considered as a group, or when specific types of tumors are considered.
• Most studies do not show a “dose-response relationship” — a tendency for the risk of brain tumors to increase with increasing cell phone use, which would be expected if cell phone use caused brain tumors.
• Several studies published by the same research group in Sweden report increased risk of tumors on the side of the head where the cell phone was held, particularly with 10 or more years of use. It is hard to know what to make of these findings because studies by other researchers have not had the same results, and there is no overall increase in brain cancer in Sweden during the years that correspond to these reports.

The 13-country INTERPHONE study, the largest case-control study done to date, looked at cell phone use among more than 5,000 people who developed brain tumors (gliomas or meningiomas) and a similar group of people without tumors. Overall, the study found no link between brain tumor risk and the frequency of calls, longer call time, or cell phone use for 10 or more years. There was a suggestion of a possible increased risk of glioma, and a smaller suggestion of an increased risk of meningioma, in the 10% of people who used their cell phones the most. But this finding was difficult to interpret because of some people reporting implausibly high cell phone use, as well as other issues. The researchers noted that the shortcomings of the study prevented them from drawing any firm conclusions, and that more research was needed.

A large, long-term study following more than 420,000 cell phone users in Denmark between 1982 and 2002 had findings similar to those of the case-control studies. Cell phone use, even for more than 10 years, was not linked with an increased risk of brain tumors, salivary gland tumors, or cancer overall, nor was there a link with any brain tumor subtypes or with tumors in any location within the brain. This type of study (following a large group of people going forward in time and not relying on people’s memories about cell phone use) is generally thought to be stronger than a case-control study. But there are still limits as to how well this study might apply to people using cell phones today. For example, while the cell phones used at the time of the study tended to require more power than modern cell phones, people also probably used the phones less than they do today.

In summary, most studies published so far have not found a link between cell phone use and the development of tumors. However, these studies have had some important limitations that make them unlikely to end the controversy about whether cell phone use affects cancer risk.

First, studies have not yet been able to follow people for very long periods of time. When tumors form after a known cancer-causing exposure, it usually takes decades for them to develop. Because cell phones have been in widespread use for less than 20 years in most countries, it is not possible to rule out future health effects that have not yet appeared.
Second, cell phone usage has been and is constantly changing. People are using cell phones much more than they were even 10 years ago, and the phones themselves are very different from what was used in the past. This makes it hard to know if the results of studies looking at cell phone use in years past would still apply today.

Third, the studies published so far have focused on adults, rather than children. Cell phone use is now widespread even among young children. It is possible that if there are health effects, they might be more pronounced in children because their nervous systems are still developing and their lifetime exposure will be greater than adults, who started at a later age.

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