Phone(y) Health

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With all this talk about health care, toxicity, and who knows ‘the facts’, it seemed only appropriate to shed a little bit of light on a lesser recognized health issue, our cell phones. It is estimated that 4.6 Billion individuals use cell phones on a regular basis. An astounding number that attests to the epidemic that is cell phone use. So what of these electromagnetic wonders?

SARs for Phones

The most major concern is about “SAR”, or Specific Absorption Rates that have been loosely tied to various negative human health issues including cancer. Governments have regulated the maximum SAR level in the US to 1.6 W/kg over 1 gram of tissue on the head. You can check your phone’s SAR rating online. Phones with more features, like camera’s and the internet typically produce significantly more radiation than the older phones that work for calls and text only.

Science on the Hazards: Can you hear us now?

How hazardous are our new gadgets? There is a large debate, with very little consistent (or funded) scientific evidence that directly links cell phone use to cancer, fatigue, sleep disturbances, and heart palpitations. The World Health Organization declared the studies ‘inconclusive’ and are scheduled to product their own report this year on the issue. The National Radiation Advisory Authorities on the other hand recommend the Precautionary Principle. By avoiding use and exposure to cell phone radiation, you can avoid waiting for an “Uh Oh” response, like DDT in the 1960s.

Precautionary Principle

The Precautionary Principle appears to be the smartest option. There is a large vested interest in the spread of cell phones, from building towers in African deserts with the assumption of future markets to coming out with a new ‘must have gadget’ every two years. With this type of investment, it is difficult to evaluate the scientific studies that have been conducted. Similar to the Genetically Modified Organism debate, the science investigating the health effects of cell phones has been muted.

The general agreed upon studies request that studies are conducted for 10 years, more time than I myself have even used a cell phone, with new technology evolving constantly modifying the reliance on cell phones. So instead of waiting for a report, it may be helpful to adhere to these guidelines suggested by various radiation, cell phone, and health organizations.

Cell Phone Use Safety Tips

Here are some helpful hints to reduce your exposure:

  • Use handsets & headsets
  • Text instead of voicemail
  • Limit children’s exposure and use of cell phones
  • Do not sleep with your phone near you, for instance on your bedside table
  • Do not use your phone in low to no coverage areas. They require more radiation to gain the signal.
Depicts 426,000 cell phones, equal to the number of cell phones retired in the US every day.Cell Phones
Photo by Chris Jordan.

If you learn that your phone is above the regulated and/or suggested limits and need a new phone, please be sure to recycle your cell phone. In 2007, it was estimated that 426,000 cell phones are thrown out in the US every year! So close the loop, recycle or donate your phone when needed and see what the Precautionary Principle can do for you!

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Comments

  1. This is some really useful information. I use my cellphone alarm to wake up so I keep it close to my bed. I’ll keep it far away from me now.

    Till then,

    Jean

  2. So good information. Some phone makers try to best one for healty. But I think its impossible to finish radyasion!

  3. Happy to help. This is something that is not being researched thoroughly our has strict industry standards, so we need to be our best advocates on this issue.

    I hope that as cell phone usage continues to grow, the regulatory bodies catch up to the health risks that they pose. But for now, check out your phone’s rating and take some of the advice to keep the minimal radiation away from your body. Since every body reacts differently to varying degrees of radiation, this is definitely a good thing to play it safe on.

    Thanks for reading!
    Tiff

  4. Interesting post Tiffany. I have always been a little wary of any device that produces even small amounts of radiation. I’m sure most people would not have thought to avoid leaving their cellphone close to where they sleep. The tip about avoiding usage in low coverage areas is good advice too. I’m sure the people testing health effects of cell phones aren’t factoring in things like signal strength.

  5. That’s pretty shocking information.

  6. hmm nice news thanks admin by bursa evden eve taşımacılık

  1. April 29th, 2010

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