One of the most common sights we see these days,
is that of people with their mobile phones next to their ears. A boon
for better communication, cell phone usage nonetheless has many health
hazards. Various studies indicate that the emissions from a cell phone
can be extremely harmful, causing genetic damage, tumors, memory loss,
and increased blood pressure and weakening of the immune system. This
is alarming information, and one has to take into account all these
CELL PHONES AND HEALTH
Though there is no evidence of cell
phones causing cancer or any such illness, but the suspicion, or fear
of the same is not baseless either. The electromagnetic radiation from
cell phones does have a potential link to cancer. The fact that this
radiation is invisible, intangible, and enters and leaves our bodies
without our knowledge makes it even more intimidating.
- Two minutes of exposure to emissions from mobile phones can
disable a safety barrier in blood causing proteins and toxins to
leak into the brain, could increase chances of developing
Alzheimer's multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's. (Scientists at
Sweden's Lund University)
- Scientists say exposure to the
phones' low-level radiation causes red blood cells to leak
hemoglobin and can lead to heart disease and kidney stones.
- Recent studies suggesting a link
between cell-phone use and brain tumors, and the possibility that
the microwaves could ignite petroleum fumes at gas stations.
- A cell phone unit, or
communications tower, has so many of thee radiation emanating
gadgets. This can be a problem for its immediate environment.
SPECIFIC HEALTH CONCERNS
Studies have been conducted suggesting that rats that have been
exposed to microwaves similar to the sort generated by mobile phones
but more powerful, showed breaks in their DNA which could indicate an
adverse effect. Also, mice exposed to radiation for 18 months
developed brain tumors. Though of course, these studies are not
It was observed that people using cell phones were prone to high blood
pressure. Again, there isn't any concrete evidence of the same.
A study at the University of Montpellier in France was carried out on
6000 chick embryos and suggested that the heavily exposed chick eggs
were five times less likely to survive than the control group.
This study raised questions about possible effects on pregnant women
but it has not yet appeared in peer-reviewed scientific literature or
been reproduced, so its findings are difficult to assess.
Headaches, Heating Effects, Fatigue
A study brought out that longer the people used mobile phones, the
more likely they were to report symptoms such as hot ears, burning
skin, headaches and fatigue.
The study did not include a control group (that is people who do not
use mobile phones, to make a comparison); therefore the symptoms
reported could have been caused by any number of other factors in the
mobile phones users' environment, such as working with computers,
stress, driving or reading.
There have been various studies into the connection between mobile
phones and memory loss. A study looked into the effect of
radiofrequency (RF) on the section of rats' brains that is linked with
the memory. The results showed that RF could modify signals in the
cells in a part of the brain that is responsible for learning and
short term memory.
Posture (holding phone between raised
shoulder and ear)
Some researchers claim that holding a mobile phone between the raised
shoulder and the ear could have a damaging effect on muscles, bones,
tendons and discs. These problems would apply equally to a cordless
phone or a landline phone as to a mobile phone and are the effect of
Mobile Phones and Children
Because of their smaller heads, thinner skulls and higher tissue
conductivity, children may absorb more energy from a given phone than
- Cell phones should be used for
emergencies, and not for long conversations.
- A small chip-like cell phone
microwave radiation protection device is available, which has the
ability to absorb electromagnetic energy waves from your mobile
phone. It helps in reducing the potential harmful effects of these
emissions to the human body.
- Using a mobile headset is a good
idea, you don't have to hold phones next to your ears all the time
- Use a hands free mobile car kit
while driving, without taking your hands off the steering wheel
THE WHO (World Health
- Mobile phone users should limit their exposure to harmful
radio frequencies by cutting the length of calls.
- Hands-free devices cut exposure by keeping the instrument away
from the head and body.
- Driving cum mobile phone talking should be banned.
- Mobile phones should not be used in Intensive Care Units of
hospitals as they can pose a danger to patients by interfering
with the working of pacemakers and defibrillators.
- People with hearing aids should not use mobile phones.
- Base stations, which have low powered antennae on their
terrace to communicate with cell phones, should not be located
near children's schools and playgrounds.
CELL PHONES WHILE DRIVING
that a lot of car accidents have happened, while the driver was on
the phone. This is because while driving, one obviously needs to
concentrate, and talking on a phone doesn't help. Some countries
like Portugal have banned the use of cell phones, which may not be
very practical, as their main use is to be reachable while you are
on the move. Thus, it is important to take certain precautions
- Position your phone within easy reach so that you don't have
to take your eyes off the road.
- Get to know the features of your cell phone - speed dial,
redial, voice mail, they can be your lifesaver. But don't dial and
drive at the same time. Use a hands free kit.
- Avoid using a phone when road conditions are hazardous or
traffic is heavy. You can let your voice mail take messages and
then call back later.
- Don't engage in stressful conversations that may distract your
attention from the road.
- Don't take notes or look up phone numbers whilst driving, wait
till you can pull over.
- User abbreviated speed dialing. In fact, voice activated
dialing is even better. It leaves both hands free. Frequently
called numbers can be programmed.
- Have an answering machine installed that could take messages
until you can return the calls. Let your co-passenger handle the
calls if you are not travelling alone.
Globalisation is the new mantra. In this age, it is very difficult
not to have technology. But with technology, come certain hazards. The
only way to beat these is again, better technology. Electromagnetic
radiation is everywhere. More and more wireless communication services
(cellular phones, paging, wireless Internet) are expected so is the
artificial electromagnetic radiation. It seems that there is no way to
reverse this trend. Scientists and engineers are developing better and
safer wireless systems and devices. Smaller cell size, better base
station antennas and other more advanced technologies will allow
future cell phones to radiate much lower power. So one can only hope
that cell phone hazards will be reduced.