There have long been reports and claims that cell phones can be harmful to your health, but nothing truly substantiated has come forth. That changed today. According to CNN, the World Health Organization announced today, after a panel of 31 scientists from 14 countries (including the US) extensively reviewed material and studies from all over the world, that cell phones can possibly cause cancer. Although long-term studies have not been conducted, mobile devices have been classified in the same carcinogenic hazard category as lead, engine exhaust, and chloroform. Not good.
What exactly is the problem? No, mobile phones are not coming alive and killing you, as suggested in the legendary movie “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”. The issue is the radiation emitted from cell phones. The type of radiation that comes from cell phones is called non-ionizing, which is similar to that seen in a low-powered microwave oven. That doesn’t sound so bad,
right? Well, would you stick your head in a lower-powered microwave oven? Didn’t think so.
And if you think about what a microwave does to food, according to the panel, that’s exactly what the radiation does to your brain: it cooks it, in a way. And according to the largest worldwide study on cell phone radiation conducted (2010), those who used a cell phone for 10 years or more had double the rates of brain cancer than the average person. This doesn’t even take into account those suffering from cognitive and memory problems, which scientists speculate the radiation from cell phones can also harm since the parts of our brain that control those functions are directly next to where we hold the cell phone when we’re talking.
What’s more is that this may be an even bigger issue for children and teenagers. It is more and more common nowadays to see young children and teenagers with cell phones. Although no official studies have been done, it is known that younger people have thinner skulls and scalps, and as such it is believed that the radiation can penetrate deeper into their brains, causing even more harm.
And for men, if you keep the cell phone in your pocket, it can have a negative effect on your reproductive system, much in the same way that holding a laptop directly over your lap can. It has a sort of minor castrating effect, which can be especially problematic for those trying to put on muscle, since it will suppress testosterone production.
The thing that many people are not aware of is that most cell phone companies already issue warnings with their mobile devices. According to the same CNN article:
“The Apple iPhone 4 safety manual says for users’ radiation exposure to not exceed FCC guidelines, ‘When using iPhone
near your body for voice calls or for wireless data transmission over a cellular network, keep iPhone at least 15 mm (5/8 inch) away from the body.’”
“Blackberry Bold advises users to, ‘keep the BlackBerry device at least 0.98 in. (25 mm) from your body when the BlackBerry device is transmitting.’”
Although this is a minimal distance from the body, based on the report that came forth today, this may not be enough. Until further guidelines are issued, the best plan is to limit cell phone use. When you must use it or have it with you, try to keep it as far away from your body as is practical. Carry it in a bag, and not your pant pockets, and use speaker phone when possible to keep the actual device away from your head.
This is just another example of the fact that although technology is amazing and at times revolutionary and life-changing, it can also be dangerous, and you have to be wary of both the risks and rewards.