Since the introduction of mobile phones into our lives, there has been controversy surrounding whether they are safe to use or not. Mobile phones are convenient and allow users to stay in touch on the go. Just how safe is it to use a mobile phone nowadays?
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on May 31, 2011 that mobile phones emit enough radiation to add it to the same carcinogenic list as exhaust from engines and lead. For years, the WHO assured mobile phone users that there were no significant risks from repeated use.
What is mobile phone radiation?
Mobile phone radiation is classified as non-ionizing. Non-ionizing radiation refers to a variety of electromagnetic radiation. In the simplest terms, this means that non-ionizing radiation only excites matter into another form of energy. It does not ionize molecules which can cause more harmful radiation effects.
Other forms of non-ionizing radiation include microwave, radio waves and visible light. We cannot avoid those types of radiation and most of us cannot avoid mobile phone radiation. This is a type of radiation that we are exposed to daily.
What does the WHO’s declaration mean?
It took 31 scientists from around the world to change the WHO’s previous statements on mobile phone radiation. This study involved 14 countries and was released by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
They have deemed mobile phone use to have a possible cancer risk to humans similar to that of using a microwave in the home. So far, scientists have determined only two types of Cancer that directly correlate with these results. These two Cancers are: Glioma and Acoustic Neuromas.
Glioma is a type of Cancer that begins in the spine or lower brain stem; it begins in the glial cells. These cells protect brain neurons by supporting them and ensure Oxygen and nutrients reach them. Acoustic Neuromas are a skull-based tumor that often begins benign before growing into other areas of the brain. This tumor is considered one of the most curable with chemotherapy and other treatments if caught early. The WHO’s team of scientists have said that it takes decades of exposure at the level mobile phones release to develop a risk of Cancer.
Other forms of Cancer may be possible through repeated mobile phone use over the years, but this data how not been researched enough to release reliable results. No new studies were conducted to determine these results, the WHO opted to dig into earlier research to come to these new conclusions. Since mobile phones are still a relatively new technology development in the last 25 years, it may take many more studies in the coming years to provide more reliable data.
What exactly happens to your brain when you use your phone?
The WHO has determined that mobile phones emit the same type of radiation microwaves do. When using a microwave, you heat up whatever you happen to place in it. This is similar to what happens to your brain when you are exposed to non-ionizing radiation.
The National Institute of Health released a study in February 2011 that showed just 50 minutes of continued mobile phone usage caused an increase in brain cell activity. This stimulation is still being looked to as far as long-term effects on the human brain. It will take more research and time to find the effects of mobile phone usage and how it may cause Cancer.
How does it affect mobile phone usage in daily life?
Since people use mobile phones more often than microwaves, this has raised alarm in consumers incorporating these devices in their everyday life. Mobile phone providers have already jumped at the chance to deny that these products cause Cancer and are doing what they can to avoid a backlash from consumers who take this information to the extreme.
Mobile phone providers have already utilized phone manuals to warn consumers of possible radiation. Most providers have been doing this for years. They offer suggestions and hints to keep radiation levels at a minimum, and I will cover this more in an upcoming post.
I currently own a Samsung Alias 2 which is carried by Verizon Wireless. The Environmental Working Group released a study in December 2010 listing all major phones on the market in the United States and how much average radiation they release.
They say most phones expose a user to .35 to 1.59 watts per kilogram. 1.59 kilograms is the highest amount of radiation a phone can release in the US by law.
My phone exposes me to about 1.06 watts per kilogram. Will I still use my own mobile phone? Yes. I cannot live without it.
Do you have to stop using your mobile phone?
These devices have become almost inseparable from us during the day. Can you even imagine living without a mobile phone in today’s world? Most of us cannot. If we are not talking to family, we are texting friends or emailing coworkers. Mobile phones have become an integral part of our lives. Every year providers release new devices, increase the speed data can travel through the air and make these mobile phones more desirable for consumers all over the world.
Does this latest study from the World Health Organization mean we have to stop using our phones? Are we in danger of developing Cancer and other harmful effects from using them? Should you stop using your mobile phone? Probably not.
Should you be more aware of what using your phone can do to your health? Definitely. While technology seems to evolve at the speed of light, the answers to these questions will take much more time than we are used to waiting in today’s age.
Further Reading - Limit your exposure to cell phone radiation.