What Causes Cell Phone Radiation and How Does it Affect Your Body? What is so popular with young teenagers today? Cell phones. Walking around on campus to walking around at the mall with your cell phone may seem fashionable and trendy, but did you know that it might be causing you to get cancer? Ninety percent of cell phone holders do not realize it and it should be something everyone should be aware of.
It may seem a bit unusual how a cell phone can cause a child or an adult to get cancer, but it is true. New evidence is growing fast about health risks from mobile phones – electromagnetic radiation. These devices can be used to make telephone calls from almost anywhere. Symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, and burning sensations on the skin were more common among those who make long phone calls.
At the same time, there are a growing number of unconfirmed reports of individuals whose health has been affected after chronic, frequent use of mobile phones, presumably from radiation effects on cells. There are two types of phones, one has the antenna mounted on the handset and the other has the antenna mounted on a separate transmitter or, if the telephone is installed in a vehicle, mounted on the roof or rear window.
Communication between a mobile telephone and the nearest base station is achieved by the microwave emissions from the antenna. Concerns have been raised about the type of mobile telephone that has an antenna in the handset. In this case, the antenna is very close to the user’s head during normal use of the telephone and there is concern about the level of microwave emissions to which the brain is being exposed.
Those telephones that have the antenna mounted elsewhere are of no concern since exposure levels decrease rapidly with increasing distance from the antenna. Cordless telephones, which need to be operated within about 20 meters of a base unit that is connected directly to the telephone system do not have any health concerns associated with their use because exposure levels are very low.
Media reports have claimed that up to 70 percent of the microwave emissions from hand-held mobile telephones may be absorbed in the user’s head. This is not supported by the evidence but nevertheless leads to speculation that hot spots may be created in the user’s brain, thereby raising concerns that telephones may be a health risk.
Other reports have indicated that mobile telephone users suffer localized headaches when they use their telephones. At this stage, it is difficult to evaluate the evidence supporting these reports, since they have not been published.
This work on human subjects follows other phone studies in animals suggesting that radiation from mobiles may cause brain tumors, cancer, anxiety, memory loss, and serious birth defects. An Australian study found that mice exposed to pulsed digital phone radiation over 18 months had twice the risk of developing cancers. An American study found that learning and short-term memory were impaired after 45 minutes of exposure to radiation from phones in rats.
And other studies of electromagnetic radiation on pregnant mice suggest that high exposure can affect intra-uterine development, confirmed recently in chicks. The effects on humans are unknown. In Britain, a 27-year-old woman with a brain tumor is taking a mobile phone manufacturer to court who she blames for her tumor. A biologist, Roger Coghill has also been given permission to bring a case against a provider of mobile phone equipment for failing to warn people of radiation hazards.
A wide variety of electrical devices contribute to electrosmog, ranging from computers to phones, TV sets, radar transmitters,s and transformers. However mobile phone radiation is certainly intense, as evidenced by the effects on aircraft navigation systems, or more obviously on a nearby conventional telephone or a music system.
The brain cancer reports originated in the USA where a number of lawsuits have been lodged against mobile telephone manufacturers and suppliers. These claims for damages alleging that the microwave emissions from mobile telephones used by the claimants caused their brain cancers. Those few cases that have been tried have been dismissed for lack of supporting evidence.
Microwaves are but one type of electromagnetic field the way that these fields are described is by specifying their frequency. The range of frequencies that are useful for telecommunications includes microwaves. Some public concern about mobile telephones is erroneously based on media attention to the possibility of adverse effects from exposure to power-line electromagnetic fields, which have a much lower frequency than the microwaves emitted by mobile telephones.
The physical properties and biological effects of these fields are very different from microwaves and it is meaningless to extrapolate the results of those studies to the subject of this Information Bulletin. The current Australian exposure Standard is based on the well-established thermal effects of exposure to microwaves. That is, when tissue is exposed to sufficiently high levels of microwaves, the tissue is heated and damage may occur. The exposure limits are set well below levels where any significant heating occurs.
The Standard also sets limits for pulsed radiation that are intended to eliminate possible effects where heating is not evident. All mobile telephones marketed in Australia must satisfy the regulatory requirements of Austel the Australian Telecommunications Authority, as well as that part of the Australian Standard that sets limits on the power output of a mobile telephone.
Therefore, the use of a mobile telephone is not expected to cause significant heating in any part of the body, including the brain. Some research has indicated that non-thermal effects resulting from low-level microwave exposure also occur. However, the existence of these effects has not been sufficiently established to allow for them in the Standard.
A few animal studies suggest that exposure to weak microwave fields can accelerate the development of cancer. Further studies are required to establish their reproducibility and the existence or otherwise of a dose-response relationship. Whether these results are relevant to users of mobile telephones is not clear.
In any event, these results cannot be dismissed at this stage. The very few studies that have been conducted on human populations epidemiological studies do not provide any direct information on possible mobile telephone hazards and hence are of limited value. The results of these studies are difficult to interpret because exposure levels were either not measured or impossible to determine from the data provided.
In general, however, this type of study will be useful in identifying possible links between mobile telephone use and cancer risk. Complementary cellular and animal research is required to establish any cause-and-effect relationship and the biological mechanisms involved. The Australian Radiation Laboratory continues to closely monitor the research being conducted in this area. On the specific issue of brain cancer occurring in users of these telephones, it is important to note that such cancers existed before the introduction of mobile telephones.
It is simply not possible to identify the cause of any single case of cancer. Long-term studies to investigate whether mobile telephone users have a greater incidence of, say, brain cancer than the general population have not been completed. The Commonwealth Government has established the Electromagnetic Energy Public Health Issues Committee to examine and advise on the adequacy of health exposure standards, compliance procedures, local and overseas research results, and the potential for further research, all with respect to mobile telephone use, among other things.
The Committee includes representatives from the Department of Health and Family Services, the Department of Communications and the Arts, and the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Mobile telephone companies and service providers are not represented. Late in 1996, the Commonwealth Government announced that $4.5mil would be provided for Australian research and public information program over the next 4-5 years.
The National Health and Medical Research Council will manage this research program. There is no evidence that microwave exposure from mobile telephones causes cancer and inconclusive evidence that such exposure accelerates the growth of already-existing cancer. More research on this issue needs to be carried out. Users concerned about the possibility of health effects can minimize they are using a mobile telephone which does not have an antenna in the handset or using a ‘hands-free’ attachment.
There is no clear evidence in the existing scientific literature that the use of digital or analog mobile telephones poses a long-term public health hazard There are five ways to reduce the risk of radiation going in your body. One is to have shorter conversations. Try to avoid speaking for long periods on the cell phone; furthermore, try to plan your calls in such a way that you use ordinary phones for long conversations. Second, don’t sit in the car. Speak as little as possible inside the car because it amplifies the radiation.
If you have to speak a lot from the car, get a roof antenna. Third, protect your baby. Don’t place a turned-on mobile phone in the baby carriage. The mobile phone produces microwaves even if you don’t speak in it. Fourth, avoid waist. Don’t carry the cell phone in the belt around the waist. It is unnecessary to expose the deposits of bone marrow in the hips, and the testicles to microwaves.
Earlier there have been warnings against placing the phone next to the heart. This is now regarded as being less dangerous unless you have a pacemaker. The best place to carry the phone is in a military trousers leg pocket. And finally, direct the antenna. Always pull out the antenna when you use the phone and direct it away from the head, not upright in parallel with the head. It may be a marginal difference, but it reduces the radiation into the head somewhat.