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Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Effects of Electromagnetic Radiation on Cell Phone Users

Cell phones produce radiation. We’ve known that for years and we’ve been getting more and more worried about it. The hands free kit was initially developed not to make driving safer, but to allow cell phone users to operate their devices without actually putting the phone to their ears.

The facts of cell phones and electromagnetic radiation are as follows: loads of people use cell phones; cell phones produce electromagnetic radiation; these fields are potentially carcinogenic. Scared yet? Well don’t rush off the deep end. First of all – loads of stuff is potentially carcinogenic, including (apparently – I even had a girlfriend once who wouldn’t eat it because of this) burnt toast. So listening to scare mongers isn’t advised.

Have a look at the thinking around electromagnetic cell phone radiation and its effects. According to the IARC (the International Agency for Research on Cancer), the primary method by which electromagnetic radiation affects the human body is by raising the temperature of individual cells. Cell phones use such low levels of EM that the only temperature they raise is in skin cells and subcutaneous cells – there is very little evidence suggested that the prolonged use of a cell phone can raise the temperature of your brain or other internal organs.

Also, the power of the EM effect decreases hugely in exponential relation to the distance of the handset from the body. Ergo, when you send text messages, your cell phones are hardly affecting you with their EM at all. This is why (as noted above) the hands free kit was developed. Not to make driving safer but to keep the handset away from your head.

The IARC has commissioned studies looking at the potential effects of prolonged cell phone use on a person’s likelihood of getting head and neck tumours. After studies conducted in several countries the IARC has found no causal link between the one and the other – though results did show that the highest 10% of phone users – those who said that they routinely conducted phone calls that lasted for a long time, and by long time we mean hours, every day – did have a slightly higher instance of head and neck tumours.

Overall, the current wisdom is that electromagnetic radiation does have the potential to have a carcinogenic effect – but that using cell phones has yet to be proved to endanger you any more than, say, going to the supermarket or watching television. The simple fact of the matter is that the modern world is absolutely chock full of radiation signals, emitting from your computer, your TV, your phone, your alarm system – basically anything that receives transmissions without a wire.

There s a condition known as electromagnetic hypersensitivity, still debated by doctors but as real as anything for the poor people who suffer from it. In a very, very tiny number of cases patients have reported a host of illnesses triggered by electromagnetic radiation – but if you’ve got ERH (electromagnetic radiation hypersensitivity) you won’t just be affected by cell phones – it will be everything.

In short: cell phones seem no more or less dangerous than anything else in the modern world. Just use them sensibly, like you would anything else.

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