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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mobile mania To Be or not to Be?

Article by Reba Paul 
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The jury’s still out on whether mobile phones are dangerous to the human body. Firmly in the clutches of today’s mobile phone culture, we are at a point where we need to understand it better, and figure out how to use it in a way that minimizes possible harm.

It’s hardly been here two decades and we already can’t imagine life without it! Many people are mulling over whether they should continue using it extensively or curb usage. Needless to say, the question of doing away with the cell phone altogether will never arise. We have already crossed that point – they have become gadgets that most of us cannot do without – even though we’ve been hearing that radiation is bad for us. So all that’s left to be done is figure out how we can use it with least damage to ourselves.

Technically speaking, the ‘real’ killing that mobile phone use is responsible for, has mostly happened on the road – with drivers using the phone while driving, causing fatalities. Statistics say that drivers on the phone are four times more likely to crash their vehicles. Many countries have made it illegal to use mobile phones while driving – and killing someone else or yourself because you were using the phone on the road, is the greatest health hazard that this instrument poses.

Unfortunately, many suspect that this is not the only risk that this small handy instrument places upon the human race. Ever since the mobile phone has been in use, people have been voicing their concerns about the dangers that its electromagnetic radiation could bring. Of course, it would take us close scrutiny of a whole generation to really know the benefits and harm of any new thing. So we stand at a very interesting juncture – it could be terrible for us, but we love it too much, and it’s much too early to really tell. All we can do now is to take stock of what early studies are showing, and use our own guidance system to decide how we want to approach the issue individually.

We would like to believe that science has all the answers. Unfortunately, since the very foundation of science is that it pursues answers, most often it raises as many questions as the answers it provides. This is an inevitable part of the process of getting to the bottom of any truth.

Most of the larger studies about the harms of mobile phone radiation state that they have been unable to find a link between cell phone radiation and cancer. Interestingly, many of the studies have connections with phone companies themselves, so the skepticism regarding the findings is understandable. Many other smaller studies have been consistently showing that radiation seems to have harmful effects on life on the cellular level. This may be why major studies done on groups of adults using cell phones did not throw up any conclusive evidence. When damage is done in minor quantities on the cellular level, it takes a lot more time to cumulatively show up in the body. Most of the studies use words like ‘there are implications’ – which means that a link between DNA degeneration and radiation is suspected, but they are unable to state this conclusively. Here are some study findings:

•…. In 1995, in the journal Bioelectromagnetics, Henry Lai and Narenda P. Singh reported damaged DNA after two hours of microwave radiation at levels considered safe according to government standards.
•…. In December 2004, a study done across Europe called REFLEX, covered evidence from 12 collaborating laboratories. They found compelling evidence that there was DNA damage in cells in in-vitro cultures. These were exposed to 0.3 – 2 watts/kg. There were also indications of chromosome damage, changes in some genes and a higher rate of cell division.
•…. In Athens, a team studied the effects of radiation on fruit flies – and saw a reduction in the reproductive capacity of these little creatures when they were exposed to six minutes of 900 MHz for a period of five days.
•…. Studies suggest that rats exposed to microwaves similar to mobile phone radiation displayed breaks in their DNA. Mice exposed to radiation for eighteen months developed brain tumors.
•…. A study conducted at the University of Montpellier in France exposed 6000 chick embryos to radiation. They found that the heavily exposed chick eggs were five times less likely to survive than the control group. This raises questions about possible effects that excessive radiation could have on fetuses.
•…. In 2009, Australian research subjected in vitro samples of human sperm to radio-frequency radiation. They saw that sperm that were put under a higher absorption rate had a decrease in motility and vitality, had an increase in oxidative stress, and increased DNA fragmentation.
Studies also indicate that radiation interferes with the chemicals in the human body – inhibiting the production of melatonin, which in turn inhibits estrogen production, and could cause cancer. Most of these studies are yet to be ‘peer-reviewed’ but they have all been done by smaller, independent teams. Your own research will help you draw conclusions about their validity and honesty. These are all early indications that it may be harmful to overuse or over expose yourself to cell phone radiation.
Interestingly, the WHO has classified mobile phone radiation as being ‘possibly carcinogenic’ – saying that there could be ‘some risk’ and strongly advises additional research into the long-term dangers this could bring. So, we stand at a point where we have no hard evidence that cell phones cause cancer or other disease, but are increasingly getting evidence that they could. What’s most unnerving is that the radiation that could cause such harm is invisible – entering and leaving our bodies without us even knowing about it.
It’s not just our bodies that are impacted by the radiation changes through the handsets and the telecommunications towers. Scientists say that the towers could be responsible for disrupting the internal navigation systems of insects like bees. Over a period of time, this could cause a disruption in our food chain and the agriculture industry, since bees are responsible for a lot of pollination of crops.
Advocacy groups and concerned scientists and doctors have initiated many movements in the USA and Europe that urge lawmakers to reconsider how and where cell phone towers are located, and to revise policies about keeping schools, retirement homes and healthcare institutions free from this kind of radiation.
Until there is more conclusive evidence, it may be wise to adopt a ‘better safe than sorry’ policy on the almighty cell phone – especially in the case of children. Their smaller heads, thinner skulls and higher tissue conductivity, make them prone to absorbing more energy from a cell phone. There are some products on the market that say they can reduce the impact of mobile phone radiation. You could check these out and investigate the usefulness of these for yourself. If you feel that there is enough evidence to be wary of cell phone radiation, you can start changing things by limiting your phone usage starting today.

Help! I’m addicted to my Phone!

Here are some tips that decrease your radiation exposure:
• Limit the use of cell phones- keep calls short.
• Text instead of talking whenever you can.
• Wear an air tube headset (not regular wired headset). The regular wired headset has been found to intensify radiation into the ear canal – serving as an antenna, attracting electromagnetic frequencies from the surroundings.
• Do not put the cell phone in a pocket or a belt while in use or while it is on. The body tissue in the lower body area has good conductivity and absorbs radiation more quickly than the head. One study shows that men who wear cell phones near their groin could have their sperm count dropping by as much as 30%.
• After dialling, wait for the call to connect before placing the phone next to the ear.
• Do not use the cell phone in enclosed metal spaces such as vehicles or elevators, where devices may use more power to establish connection.
• Do not make a call when the signal strength is weak (1 bar or less), because stronger radiation is emitted by the phone.
• Purchase a phone with a low SAR. Most phones have a SAR level listed in its instruction manual. The SAR level is a way of measuring the quantity of RF energy that is absorbed by the body.
• Be a little old fashioned – use landlines.
• Keep cell phone off most of the time. Ask people to leave messages and then call them back from a landline.

Safety First!

1. A small chip-like cell phone microwave radiation protection device is available, which absorbs electromagnetic energy waves from your mobile phone, protecting the body from these emissions.
2.  Use your cell phone for emergencies, not long rambling conversations
3. DO NOT allow your children to use or play with mobile phones. Their bones are less dense than ours so they can be affected by radiation faster than an adult. Make it a rule that children use a cell phone only during emergencies.
4. Do not use your cell phone when you drive. This has been the cause of many fatal road accidents. If you absolutely HAVE to, use a hands free mobile car kit, so you can keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times.
5. Do not use the cell phone when you drive – for another reason than the previous –  when you are moving, your phone is constantly trying to get the best signal – which means that radiation is intensified!
6. Some companies have developed materials and gadgets that act as radiation shields, so check these out and if you are convinced, then use them.
7. Keep your phone out of the bedroom at night. This is the time when your pineal gland and other chemical processes are working to heal and rejuvenate your body. The worst thing you could do is place EM radiation at close quarters to your body at this time.

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