Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) introduced a bill in Congress last Friday that would examine force the FCC to investigate the potential side effects of radiation from mobile phones. The bill demands that the government “examine, label, and communicate adverse human biological effects associated with exposure to electromagnetic fields from cellphones and other wireless devices, and for other purposes.” On Tuesday, the Government Accountability Office also called for action, noting that the Federal Communications Commission set its maximum exposure limits more than 15 years ago during the early days of mobile technology. The GAO warns that federal cell phone radiation standards are outdated and may not protect public health.
“The FCC has been wearing a blindfold for more than a decade, pretending that while cell phones were revolutionizing how we communicate, the agency didn’t have to take a hard look at what this meant for its so-called safety standards,” said Renee Sharp, director of Environmental Working Group’s California office. “Finally, the FCC has been taken to task for this grave oversight, and we hope and expect it will use the GAO’s findings to update its safety standards for wireless devices.”
The GAO notes that the FCC’s current standards allow 20 times more radiation to reach the head than the body as a whole, and do not account for the possible risks to children’s developing brains. In addition, the agency did not consider the impact of frequent cell phone use over the course of many years.
“In 1996, tweens and teens were not consumers of wireless technology, but today it’s hard to find a group of young people who aren’t armed with the latest mobile device,” said Sharp. “Those populations who are now talking and texting daily were not considered by the FCC when it devised its safety standards fifteen years ago.”
The FCC announced in June that it was considering whether or not to evaluate its current standards, however no final decision was made. The agency has repeatedly spoken of confidence in its current guidelines and claims cell phone emissions pose no risk to consumers.
In the largest study of its kind, scientists from the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, Danish Cancer Society and the International Agency for Research on Cancer found no clear evidence that mobile phone’s increase the risk of cancer, although the team noted that it could not predict long-term effects.
Simi Valley, California
Rancho Cucamonga, California
The Netherlands, Amsterdam
EMF or an Electromagnetic shield Shield serves many important purposes. Some might think that feeling the need to use an EMF shield is “paranoid,” but the truth is they are extremely practical and in fact, are used with many devices we use every day.
An EMF shield on laptop computer helps mask keyboard input which prevents people from tracing your key strokes at a distance and then determining your passwords. Another EMF shield that nearly every home will have is on their microwaves. Have you ever noticed that despite the microwave door being transparent, it’s still difficult to see through it clearly? This is due to the fine metal mesh that is installed within the glass on the door. Even though the mesh is not solid; it acts as a shield because the holes in the mesh are smaller than the wave-lengths trying to get through them. You will also find a shield built into your cellular phone which prevents you from picking up other people’s phone calls or intercepting their text messages. Older model cell phones did not have this as a standard feature and it was common for text messages to be hi-jacked by other phone signals or calls to be randomly intercepted by another wireless phone signal.
Other examples of devices that use an EMF shield include; broadcasting equipment such as that found in radio stations, medical equipment, dispatching equipment and emergency paging devices. All these technologies require EMF shielding otherwise cell phones and radio signals could interfere with them causing a catastrophic failure. This is a major reason why you are not supposed to use your cellular phone when in-flight. Although the airplane’s equipment does use this shield; the consequences of the interference with a cell-signal or AM/FM radio wave could result in a fatal equipment error and it is just is not worth the risk.
The aforementioned are all instances of an EMF shield that have already been built into consumer products for your convenience, but there are instances where there are no shields where there should be. Have you ever noticed the pesky frequency at which your baby monitor picks up the neighbors child crying or the couple down the street arguing? Baby monitors are one-way radio signals that operate, typically, on one of two channels; so the chance of someone else’s monitor being on the same channel as yours is pretty good. Despite the fact that the neighbor might be three doors down from you, the radio waves on your monitors can still interfere with one another. If you were to use an EMF shield on your monitor it would reduce and even eliminate that crossover interference altogether.
The uses for an EMF shield are endless. To protect yourself from laptop radiation, you can use The DefenderPad EMF shield. Just remember that wrapping your own head in tin foil – although conceptually accurate – may not actually prevent anyone from reading your mind or hi-jacking your brain waves.
Garden Grove California USA
City of Gosford, Australia,
Pembroke Pines, Florida
Equatorial Guinea, Malabo,
Al ‘Awdah, United Arab Emirates, Al ‘Awdah, UAE
The turf war between the Telecom Ministry and the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) over regulating electromagnetic radiation emanating from mobile towers has intensified. The Department of Telecom has asked the Ministry to stay away from issuing any policy related to governing mobile radiation.
This follows an advisory from the Environment Ministry in August asking State governments to conduct regular audit of electromagnetic radiations emanating from towers set up by mobile companies. Under this advisory, the Environment Ministry had asked local bodies not to give permission to mobile companies to set up base station in ecologically-sensitive areas, without consulting the Forest Department.
In response, the DoT has written to the Ministry that it was already doing regular checks. “There is no need for any special arrangement for ecological-sensitive areas… Issue of electromagnetic radiation is dealt by the DoT. Involvement of multiple organisations and issue of directions on the same subject by different Ministries will create complication and difficulties,” it added.
The Telecom Ministry and the MoEF have been at loggerheads on this issue for a while with the latter wanting stricter norms and greater role for itself. Earlier, the MoEF set up a Committee to study the impact of mobile radiation on biological systems despite opposition from the Telecom Ministry.
Sibal versus Gehlot
The advisory issued by the MoEF has prompted several State governments to take action against mobile companies. In Rajasthan, for instance, all telecom companies have been told to switch off their cell sites near schools and hospitals.
Communication and IT Minister Kapil Sibal has told Ashok Gehlot, Chief Minister of Rajasthan, to review the decision as it was affecting communication in the State. “Mobile towers have been installed strictly as per guidelines issued by the DoT and they are radiating well within the limits prescribed, which has been verified by the Committee appointed by Government of Rajasthan as well as by the High Court of Rajasthan,” Sibal said in a letter to Gehlot.
Sibal said that the closure of towers in the State may also impact e-governance initiatives in Rajasthan as well as connectivity to village centres. “With closure of base stations near hospitals, doctors will be out of reach for patients. There are large number if hospitals in Jaipur town. The closing down of mobile towers within 500 metres of hospitals will affect about two-thirds of the city,” Sibal said.
Recently, the DoT had asked telecom companies to bring down emission levels by a tenth of earlier permissible limits. Monitoring agencies within DoT have been conducting random checks on towers. It has also set up a helpline to address complaints related to excessive radiation. It also penalised several operators in Mumbai for violating the norms.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Russian Federation, Moscow City
Not that you’ll be eating your cell phone anytime soon, but did you know that it’s loaded with toxins like mercury, chlorine, and cadmium? Helping to analyze cell phone dangers, the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor, Michigan teamed up with ifixit.com to take apart and identify components of 36 models of cell phones. They found at least one of the following in every device:
In total, ifixit dismantled over a thousand cell phones to test for toxins by utilizing X-ray fluorescence to irradiate and measure the radiation given back by an object. Certain materials like the toxins are identified by the signature of radiation the object re-emits.
“Even the best phones from our study are still loaded with chemical hazards,” bemoaned Jeff Gearhart, research director of the Ecology Center. He published the results of the study on his website, HealthyStuff.org. “These chemicals [are] linked to birth defects, impaired learning, and other serious health problems.”
Cell Phone Dangers to Children and Adults
Although cell phones are extremely convenient, this convenience does not come without risk or consequence. Using a mobile device for any length of time is damaging to some degree, but new research is shedding light on just how significant of an influence extended cellphone use has on the brain. In one study, it was revealed that 10 years of cell phone use resulted in an average 290% increased risk of brain tumor development.
Similarly, researchers found that 143 proteins in the brain were negatively impacted by radio frequency radiation over a period of 8 months. A total of 3 hours of cell phone exposure were simulated over the 8 month time period, and the results showed that many neural function related proteins’ functional relationship changed the for worse. It’s no surprise that celebrity Sheryl Crow attributes her brain tumor to cell phone use.
What’s more, cell phone dangers play an even greater role on children, who have thinner skulls and younger developing brains. One report shows just how prevalent cell phone dangers are for children. Due to developing organs, lower bone density of the skull, lower body weight, and a less effective blood brain barrier, children are especially vulnerable to cell phone radiation. This is even more true for unborn children, with research showing that microwave radiation emitted by cell phones negatively influencing fetal brains.
It was also revealed in a study conducted 4 years ago that 54 percent of children born from mothers who used cell phones had behavioral issues. What’s more, the percentage jumped to 80 if the children grew up talking on cell phones frequently.
There’s a reason the World Health Organization put cell phones in the same risk category as lead, engine exhaust, and chloroform.
Toxic for the Environment
Sadly, the earth, too, suffers from the toxins in cell phones. Mining tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold for cell phone production causes groundwater contamination as well as human exploitation and brutality in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Moreover, once a cell phone is discarded, it is shipped to places in the world most Americans don’t see much of, like China, India, Pakistan, Vietnam, and the Philippines, where underpaid workers handle the materials and are exposed to the toxins we go to such lengths to avoid, ourselves.
“[The toxins] have been found in soils at levels 10 to 100 times higher than background levels at e-waste recycling sites in China,” says Gearhart. “We need better federal regulation of these chemicals, and we need to create incentives for the design of greener consumer electronics.”
CEO of ifixit, Kyle Wiens, says that in 2009, 2.37 million tons of electronics were discarded. “Of the digital castoffs, only 25 percent made it into recycling centers. We can’t allow the other 75 percent of our old electronics to become waste. All those toxins add up.”
What we can Do
First and foremost, we ought to consider limiting our use of the luxury items—like cell phones—in question. Buying used electronics can cut down on waste and keep items already in circulation out of landfills.
As said by Wiens, we must kee[ pushing for better regulation of harmful materials. In the meantime, recycling e-waste properly can help keep toxins out of our groundwater. Visit e-Stewards for your local e-waste recycling program or drop off unwanted electronics at a nearby Best Buy.
On a personal level to avoid cell phone dangers:
* Limit cell phone use
* Don’t allow young children to have cell phones
* Use the speaker feature more often
* Place your cell phone far away or turn it off while not in use
* Consider investing in cell phone radiation protection
West Covina, California
United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi,
City of Hawkesbury, Australia
Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo
The number of cases with neurosurgical problems in Pakistan, including brain and spinal tumors, is on the rise, at least over the last 10 years, putting a huge financial burden on healthcare facilities and families having patients with neurological disorders. There are 120 million mobile phone users in Pakistan, population 190.3 million (July 2011).
Professor of neurosurgery and consultant neurosurgeon at the Quaid-i-Azam International Hospital Dr. Aslan Javed Munir said that apart from genetic factors, exposure to electromagnetic radiations mainly by living under high tension cables, use of mobile phones, impurities through petrochemical industries, X-ray radiations, viruses, previous history of traumas and effect of pesticides usage on agricultural products are considered as the main risk factors behind the increase in neurological disorders.
Cases of neurosurgical problems on the rise
by Muhammad Qasim from The News, Ralawpindi, 27 July 2012:
The number of cases with neurosurgical problems, including brain and spinal tumours, is on the rise, at least for the last one decade, putting a huge financial burden on healthcare facilities and families having patients with neurological disorders.
Talking to ‘The News,’ professor of neurosurgery and consultant neurosurgeon at the Quaid-i-Azam International Hospital Dr. Aslan Javed Munir said that it is alarming that the number of cases with neurological problems, including patients with complaints of backache, neck ache and slipped discs along with brain and spinal tumours, has been on the rise in Pakistan as well as across the globe.
“Nearly 10 years back, we rarely received patients requiring neurosurgical procedures but now the influx of patients with neurosurgical problems has increased to a great extent,” said Colonel (r) Dr. Aslan Javed Munir, former head of the Department of Neurosurgery at CMH, Rawalpindi.
He added that the cases of neurosurgical problems, right from neurosurgical trauma including head and spinal injuries to tumours, have increased. “The traumas increased mainly because of increase in road traffic accidents and general violence while routine spinal problems have also been on the rise because of unhealthy lifestyles.” He explained that every four out of five adults are having routine neurological disorders including back or neck pains during some part of their life, which is because of unhealthy life styles including unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, obesity, lack of exercise and stress. Odd working hours, sitting postures, watching TV and long hours working on computers are contributing a lot in increase in number of patients, said Dr. Aslan.
It is important that a number of health experts working at the allied hospitals do admit that none of the allied hospitals including Holy Family Hospital, Benazir Bhutto Hospital and District Headquarters Hospital is capable of treating ideally the patients with neurosurgical trauma or brain and spinal tumours because of lack of diagnostic and surgical equipment and staff required for the purpose.
The neurosurgical procedures are much expensive and almost unaffordable for a large proportion of population across Pakistan. There is a need of developing centres that can provide free of cost treatment to poor and needy patients requiring neurosurgical procedures, said Dr. Aslan while responding to a query.
He said that he is working on a plan of conducting at least every 10th surgery free of cost to accommodate poor patients. “I have also a desire to develop a centre to provide free of cost treatment facility to poor patients requiring surgeries in result of trauma or neurological disorders yet it needs a huge budget,” said Dr. Aslan.
To a query, he said that apart from genetic factors, exposure to electromagnetic radiations mainly by living under high tension cables, use of mobile phones, impurities through petrochemical industries, X-ray radiations, viruses, previous history of traumas and effect of pesticides usage on agricultural products are considered as the main risk factors behind increase in neurological disorders.
“By taking certain preventive measures both at the government and individual levels, the number of cases with neurological problems including traumas can be minimised,” said Dr. Aslan. One should avoid odd sitting and sleeping postures and should avoid sitting for long hours unnecessarily in front of computers. Also there is a need to develop habit of daily exercise or walk while unhealthy lifestyles including junk food and obesity should be avoided, he suggested.
Dr. Aslan added that the government should take steps to create awareness among public on how to minimise the main risk factors causing increase in number of cases. To minimise the impact of road traffic accidents, one should wear helmet when on bike while the use of seat belts and air bags in cars can also minimise the number of head and spinal trauma in case of accidents, he said.
Dr. Aslan said that like the developed countries, early reporting of symptoms related to neurological problems including continuous headache, sight problems and pains related to spine can be helpful in reducing the incidence of brain and spinal tumours.
Central African Republic, Bangui
Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, Al Ain, UAE
Four final year information technology students of Xavier’s Institute of Technology, Mahim, have taken up the task of creating awareness about the implications of mobile tower radiation emission among city’s college students. From forums on social networking sites and blogs, to college
festivals and seminars, the students want to build pressure on the union government to take cognisance of the hazards of suspected high levels of radiation emitted by mobile towers.
Kanica Jain, 21, along with her classmates Sasha Sequeira, 21, Nileema Lobo, 21, and Jaysel Meledath, 21, began their research on mobile tower radiation six months ago. After receiving complaints from students and faculty members about headaches, dizziness and nausea, the students launched the campaign, ‘The Radiation Zone — Red, Yellow n Green’.
“Students working in the laboratory complained of uneasiness. After studying theory papers and discussing the topic with experts, we concluded that the health hazards were an effect of exposure to mobile tower radiation,” said Lobo.
“What began as a college project soon turned into a campaign, because everyone in the city is vulnerable to the hazards that could be posed by high radiation,” said Meledath, a resident of Andheri. “In my locality, residents that have mobile towers fixed on their terrace continue to be apathetic because of the high monthly rents that the mobile operators pay,” he added.
“We need to work out alternatives to deal with the problem. The first step has to be reduction in the permissible limit for mobile tower radiation emission, which is 450 milliwatts/square metre at present,” said Sequeira.
San Antonio, Texas
India, New Delhi,
Daly City, California
Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou
Cotonou (de facto capital)
Dhadna, United Arab Emirates, Dhadna, UAE
Are cell phones dangerous to health? A recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association stirred up concerns once again that cell phone use when held close to the head could potentially cause brain cancer from radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation emissions.
The article reported that handheld cell phone use increases neural function as measured by brain glucose metabolism. These changes occurred mostly in the region of the brain closest to the antenna and receiving most of the radiation. Nobody knows the implications of this effect, other than we now understand that cell phone radiation can alter brain metabolic activity and neurophysiology. The authors correctly conclude that this does not imply that cell phone use can increase the risk of brain tumors. This finding is of unknown clinical significance. But because it demonstrates that radio-frequency emissions are biologically active, it raises more questions than answers.
As to cell phone use causing brain tumors, review of the scientific literature gives mixed results. A large review of the relevant literature published in the journal Epidemiology in 2009 concluded that the overall data was insufficient to prove a causal association. For brain tumors such as malignant glioma, acoustic neuroma and meningioma, the study lengths were too short to make any conclusions since it may take many years for tumors to develop. The authors concluded that increased risk for any tumor of the brain, head or neck was not demonstrated within 10 years of cell phone use. In a more recent Swiss study, no association was seen in children after five years of use.
The strongest evidence of an association between cell phone use and brain tumors comes from studies conducted in Sweden between 1997 and 2004. These researchers found an association of increased incidence for malignant glioma and acoustic neuroma especially on the same side of the head the user most often held the phone. The highest risk was for those people with first use less than 20 years old and for those with greater than 10 years of use. Another separate major study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that the increased risk was reserved only for those with the heaviest cell phone use. The heaviest users had a 40 percent increased risk for malignant glioma.
The energy emissions from cell phones may also alter neurotransmitter and other neurochemical activities of the brain influencing emotions and other neurologic conditions. There are studies demonstrating that regular to excessive cell phone use, especially in children and young adults, is associated with anxiety, poor emotional stability, depression, fatigue, dizziness, sleep disturbances and headaches. These studies only show an association, not cause and effect.
In May 2011 the World Health Organization announced that it was classifying the electromagnetic radiation emitted from cell phones as “”possibly carcinogenic.”” But it acknowledges, as do virtually all researchers and organizations including the National Cancer Institute, that the evidence is inconsistent and insufficient to make any firm conclusions and that more research is needed.
Many authorities are particularly concerned about children whose brains are still developing and who may be more susceptible to the radiation exposure over a lifetime of use.
The most definite conclusion at this point is that the danger of distraction while driving is the greatest health risk to cell phone users and to others on the road. The data on this are clear. Studies have considered cell phone use while driving as the equivalent of driving with an alcohol level of 0.08.
Indiana should join the growing number of states that make cell phone use while driving illegal. We’ll sort out the risks of cancer down the road.
Costa Rica, San José
City of Canada Bay, Australia
The Netherlands Amsterdam
Rishikesh: Threats of mobile tower radiations are well known in the urban areas but they are equally threatening lives in the rural areas too. The fruits of development might not have reached the villages but mobile tower radiations have not just sneaked into the lives of the rural people but their hazardous impacts are also being witnessed.
Shyampur, a remote village of the Uttarakhand is a veritable example of the fallout of rapid urbanization. Once, the village was known for its highly fertile land but now it has turned into a jungle of concrete with innumerable buildings swallowing most parts of agricultural landscape creating ruffles in the rural life.
One can witness many mobile towers oozing harmful radiation in the village. There are four such towers in a circumference of just two kilometer in Bhallafarm area. Presence of the towers in residential areas endangering lives of the people.
Speaking in this connection, Awwal Singh Kathait, a native of the village, said that many people in the village are complaining health related problems and have also fallen prey to various disease during a span of five years since these mobile towers came up in existence in the area.
He further said that he too has suffered continuous bouts of headache, may be due to radiation from these towers.
Manoj Vishwakarma from the same village has also complained continuous headache as well as sleeplessness.
He was also of the view that they are feeling such problems due to radiation from theses mobile towers.
The villagers said that they came to know about the deadly fallout of the radiation from theses mobile towers after popular Hindi daily ‘Dainik Jagran’ launched a campaign named Khatra-e-jaan in this regard.
Somalia, Mogadishu, ,
New Orleans, Louisiana
Al Ghabah, United Arab Emirates, Al Ghabah, UAE
Professional pilot Melissa Chalmers has moved twice in 10 months to escape wireless radiation and worries she’s running out of places to hide.
The commercial pilot of 20 years is on sick leave. She suffers from sensitivity to electromagnetic waves — the invisible waves given off by almost everything electric, in particular, those emitted by communication towers that are popping up across Canada.
Chalmers, who lives near Grand Bend on Lake Huron, may be moving again because of a new a cell tower not far from her forested home.
“They have put a tower up down the road. I’m just waiting for it to be turned on and then I will probably have to leave the home,” she said.
Chalmers first noticed, about two-and-a-half years ago when she lived in London, that the nausea she felt when she was in her apartment subsided when she left.
Cellphones, cellphone towers, wireless internet routers, cordless phones and power lines have all been recognized as possible contributors to electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EMS), which is caused by significant exposure from radio waves.
EMS symptoms include poor sleep, fatigue, headache, nausea, dizziness, heart palpitations, memory impairment and skin rashes.
Dr. Riina Bray, medical director, Environmental Health Clinic, Toronto’s Women College Hospital, is a leading physician on EMS and its symptoms.
“I’m just basically seeing more and more folks with electro hypersensitivity . . . there is a small fraction of the population who are hypersensitive and the WHO (World Health Organization) supports that phenomenon as being real,” she told the Star.
“With the continuous onslaught of this stuff in our society it is very hard for these folks . . . to get better faster.”
“If I have to move again,” Chalmers told the Star, “it will be three times since Christmas, so I am getting pretty tired of moving and I really don’t know where I am going to go at this point.”
Critics say if Industry Canada, which has total control over telecommunications, has its way there will be no place for people such as Chalmers to live.
Industry Canada did not respond to a Star request for an interview.
Bray said the public should not have to prove harm. “It should be done by industry and government,” she says.
Municipalities that have tried to control the number and location of cells towers say Industry Canada has told them it would block any attempt to usurp its powers.
The municipality of Lambton Shore near Lake Huron found out where it stood when it mused about creating a community, Port Franks, free of wireless radiation as did Oakville when it introduced its own protocol calling for a 200-metre setback.
“I went to that meeting in Oakville where it was discussed and it became very clear from Industry Canada and Health Canada that they were not going to change, they were not listening. They were there to dictate,” said Frank Klegg, a retired Microsoft Canada president, who is now head of Citizens For Safe Technology (C4ST).
Klegg said C4ST wants to work with the federal government to establish so-called white zones across the country where people who are sensitive to wireless radiation can seek refuge.
Oakville Mayor Rob Burton said the federal government doesn’t even consult the municipality on 95 per cent of the applications to erect cell towers and for the remaining 5 per cent he suggested the consultation is little more than lip service.
“What shocks me is the federal government pretending that we have a say,” Burton said.
“Our protocol is designed to get us out of the line of fire . . . we have turned away seven or eight now (but) then the proponent then goes to Industry Canada (which) gives them the go-ahead,” he said.
Solomon Islands, Honiara
Armadale Victoria Australia
Al Haybah, United Arab Emirates, Al Haybah, UAE
From bedraggled beggars on the streets to the suit clad brokers on Wall Street – the ubiquitous cell phone is everywhere, in every pocket irrespective of the rich / poor status of its owners. It is no longer an item of luxury albeit it’s a must have today, a necessary evil. For technology comes with a price and the technology behind mobile phones is sure to make mankind pay a heavy price – the price of health and safety.
The recent furore created in the media worldwide over the possible hazareds of mobile phone radiation has made us sit up and take note of the pros and cons of using the innocent looking mobile handset which had till date so surely and surreptitiously taken over our lives. We have learnt to live with the cacophony of ringtones emanating from every purse and every pocket, it has become a way of life. So much so that we run the risk of going into depression if we do not hear its tinkle. Professionals are dependent on it, parents rely on it to keep a tab on their wards and their whereabouts, stay-at-home moms swear by it for the juicy gossip etc it helps to disseminate and the youth – well it is their life line without which all would come to a standstill. The increasing number of cell phone users is a jawdropping figure and so are the mobile phone towers coming up everywhere to cater to the needs of the various network services. These towers are scattering an invisible net of radiation risking the lives of all and sundry.
What is radiation one may ask. One can define radiation as energy travelling through space in the form of waves or particles. It occurs naturally and has always been around, we’ve evolved with it and we’re bombarded with it in one form or another every day of our lives from various sources such as the earth, from space and even within our own bodies. Some experts suggest a little radiation is a good thing and it is used in medical science to combat and diagnose certain illnesses.
There are different types of radiation but lets concern ourselves with the radiation in mobile phones.The type of radiation emitted from mobile phones is electromagnetic radiation. It’s present in mobiles because they use radio frequency (RF) waves to make and receive calls. The doses are considered to be very small as the emissions are low power (short range). Nevertheless, researchers say that there are ways in which one can reduce exposure to these waves.
Here the important question that arises is how much radiation is safe for us if at all it can be termed safe. Many of us keep our ears glued to the mobile phones 24 X 7 – by compulsion or by choice. How much damage has already been done already? Despite extensive research on the subject, there has been no conclusive evidence that using a mobile phone causes long term harmful effects in humans. Yet there are instances when many have complained of headaches, migraines even cancer due to the extensive use of mobile phones or radiation from mobile towers. The debate is on regarding the validity of such instances.
According to the group of 31 scientists from 14 countries meeting at the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (WHO/IARC) using a mobile phone may increase your risk for certain kinds of brain cancers.These researchers completed a review of the available scientific evidence on cell-phone radiation and brain tumors. The group, which is working on a research monograph classified cellphones in the carcinogenic category 2B, similar to chemicals like the pesticide DDT and gasoline engine exhaust. In layman’s terms it means cell-phone radiation is “possibly carcinogenic” to human beings. “A review of the human evidence of epidemiological studies shows an increased risk of glioma and malignant types of brain cancer in association with wireless-phone use,” stated Dr. Jonathan Samet, the chairperson of the IARC working group.
Other harm that it can cause apart from the above are the lowering of bone density, causing infertility in men, slightly raised blood pressure at the time of use, direct brain warming after prolonged use, which disperses as soon as you stop using your phone and causes no harm,mild fatigue after prolonged use etc.A recent study in Sweden suggested that acoustic neuromas (benign tumours of the acoustic nerve) are twice as common in mobile phone users than in those who do not use mobiles.
The pace of mobile phone technology is advancing by leaps and bounds luring the consumer with newest developments and technologies but sadly the same is not with the case of researches required into the study of potential harm that they can cause. Other studies have shown no adverse health effects associated with cell-phone use, but many researchers believe those results will change as time passes for future studies would show the long-term effects of cell-phone use by a significant number of people.Despite the mixed research results, many people are increasingly concerned about the possible health effects of frequent, long-term exposure to cell-phone radiation.
More serious and urgent research is needed before we can know for certain the effects they have on human health before the scenario worsens. Will it be too late before we take cumulative steps in this regard.
As for now it is confirm that mobiles do emit low doses of radiation and since we have become aware of it we need to take precautions when using them. Mobile towers are a common sight these days and that too in very close proximity of our living quarters. Is such proximity too close for comfort, probably not. Is the common man on the street aware o the health hazard that these towers are creating putting them at risk of catching unwanted ailments as dangerous as cancer? Certainly not.
As of now the health risk is considered to be very, very small, although some individuals may be more susceptible to radiation than others. Whilst it’s true that excessive exposure to RF waves causes heating, the rumours that claim about being able to cook an egg using a mobile phone are entirely false.
In December 2007, Israeli researchers reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology that long-term cell-phone users who live in rural areas face a “”consistently elevated risk”” of developing tumors in the parotid gland compared with users who live in urban or suburban locations. The parotid gland is a salivary gland located just below a person’s ear.
And in January 2008, the French Health Ministry issued a warning against excessive cell phone use, especially by children, despite the lack of conclusive scientific evidence linking cell-phone use with cancer or other serious health effects. In a public statement, the ministry said: “”As the hypothesis of a risk cannot be entirely excluded, precaution is justified.””
The common man on the street who are exposed to such radiation day in and day out is mostly unaware of the possible dangers of mobile usage. In such a situation we need to generate awareness and educate everyone on the safety measures that is to be taken to keep disasters in abeyance. Children especially should never be allowed to come in contact with the danger emitting gadget as their developing brains and bodies are far more susceptible to radiation effects than adults, absorbing radiation at three times an adult’s rate. Moving your phone 20cm away from your head reduces radiation doses by about 98%. Use hands free headsets which dramatically reduce radiation emissions into the brain, indulge in short chats. There are certain devices available in the market that you can fit to your phone that reduce the emissions of radiation or allow the body to neutralise the effects, but beware of over-hyped promotions by these manufacturers using scare tactics to market their products.
Putting your cell phone on speaker mode, using a wireless Bluetooth headset or earpiece, which emit radiation at far lower levels than cell phones, carry your cell phone away from your body—in a purse, briefcase or computer bag—instead of your pocket where it is pressed up against you. Send text messages as then you hold your phone away from your body, and far away from your head, which reduces your exposure to radiation.
When your cell phone has a weak signal, it has to work harder to transmit and receive, and that equals higher bursts of radiation. You face the same problem when you are moving quickly—riding in a car, bus or train, for example—because your cell phone is forced to repeatedly emit new bursts of radiation as it connects to different cell towers along your route. Therefore finish your conversation by staying put at the area where the signal is strongest.Most cell phones emit the most radiation when they first connect with the cell tower. One way to reduce your exposure to cell-phone radiation is to wait until your call has been connected before you put the phone to your ear. These are simple ways that is in our means to avoid radiation to some extent.
The world is waking up to the monster i.e, mobile phone radiation but is our country getting any wiser? India is said to have the worst cellular tower radiation norms in the world. However, steps has been taken and new guidelines are being implemented to curb the hazards. According to new rules cellular towers will have to reduce the amount of radiation they emit to 1/10th of the current level. But the picture seems bleak as given that most countries in the world have radiation levels 1000 to 10,000 times lesser than India.
An IIT Bombay study done two years ago concluded that people living within 10 meters of cell phone towers receive 10,000 to 1 crore times more radiation than required for mobile signal strength. With the government ordering radiation from cell phone towers to be cut down to 1/10th of the existing level, will this be sufficient to prevent health hazards?
HOD Electrical Engineering, IIT Bombay, Professor Girish Kumar said, “”It should have been reduced 1 by 1000 to even 1 by 10,000 because the health problems happen at even 1 by 10,000 level. Health problems do happen in 5 to 7 years, at 1 by 1000. So we have to take a strict health based guidelines not convenience based guidelines.””
Current radiation limit in India is so high that within two years, the health of one crore Indians could be affected, IIT Bombay research found. Clearly even with these new guidelines, the Indians are not in the safe zone. Most countries in world have 1/100th to 1/1000th permissible levels of mobile tower radiation.
Statistics reveal that people of our country is at a high risk of sustaining damages due to being exposed to radiation by mobile phones and we are in a catch 22 situation even after the so called new norms. But being a third world country probaly our lives are not as precious as those of developed countries. What do we do now? Should we hit the streets demanding protection and safety from the labyrinth of mobile phones or should we take a backward leap and switch to the landline era of phones discarding the technologically advanced but dangerous cell phones? For as far as health is concerned I presume it is better to be safe than sorry.
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