The war rages on about the safety of cell phones. One side argues there’s either nothing to fear, while the other warns that your phone is causes grave harm when it comes into close contact with your body. Citing the views of other experts Dr Joseph Mercola tries to show where the real truth lies.
The year 2014 marked the first time in history that there were officially more mobile devices than people in the world – approximately 7.2 billion.
Although significantly lower, the number of cell phone users is forecast to reach 4.77 billion by the year 2017.
That’s a lot of cell phones and cell phone users. But what’s even more fascinating about all these mobile devices is the behaviour that surrounds them: The average cellphone owner checks their phone 110 times a day, or about nine times each hour; and 46 percent of smartphone owners say “they couldn’t live without” their phones
Cell Phone Safety
Most conventional experts don’t view cell phone exposure as a problem, mainly because they only look at one component of cell phone safety.
Their focus is on the thermal effects of cell phones and how your body absorbs the radiofrequency energy. The industry insists that because the energy of the fields is too low to cause heating of tissues, it can’t have any biological effect.
These thermal or tissue heating effects are measured and assigned a rating known as SAR, which stands for Specific Absorption Rate.
When buying a wireless phone, the industry suggests you compare ratings and purchase one with a lower rating.
Please understand that the SAR rating by itself is virtually worthless.
The SAR level only estimates the heat from the radiation penetrating into your head from a cell phone – just ONE component of concern!
The SAR level does not measure the risk from the frequencies of the cell phone, the erratic pulsing and modulation of the signals, or the magnetic fields created by the batteries.
Scientists now know that many of the effects from cell phones are non-thermal. In other words, they occur at levels too low to cause significant heating to tissues.
Cell Phone Radiation
The frequency of a cell phone’s waves falls between those emitted by FM radios and those from microwave ovens, all of which are considered “non-ionizing” forms of radiation.
When you make a call, text, or use data on your cell phone, here’s what happens:
Your phone sends radiofrequency, or RF waves from its antenna to nearby cell towers, and receives RF waves in return to its antenna.
If you are holding the phone next to your face, as most people do, then about 70 percent of the energy from the antenna is absorbed straight into your head, and affects your brain – the younger you are the greater the harm.
As you move your cell phone away from your head, this radiation decreases rapidly. So, clearly, the further away from your body you can keep your phone, the better.
Incidentally, the manufacturer of one of the top-selling cell phones advises against direct body contact with their phones. This is what they say right on their website:
“To reduce exposure to RF energy, use a hands-free option, such as the built-in speakerphone, the supplied headphones, or other similar accessories. Carry phone at least 5mm away from your body to ensure exposure levels remain at or below the as-tested levels.”
One of the most important bits of advice I can give you is to avoid holding your phone directly against your head, especially while your call connects – which is when the power surge is greatest.
Using your speakerphone function or a safe headset to keep your phone a safe distance away from your body is a much better option.
But Why Does the Wireless Industry Still Insist Cell Phones Are Safe?
You can search online and find study after study that says cell phone usage is safe. The wireless industry claims that thousands of studies have failed to pinpoint adverse effects.
But, is that really true?
First you need to dig deep and find out who funded the study. If it’s an industry-funded study, the results presented are just about guaranteed to favour the industry. Why would they publish results that didn’t?
But just because countless studies might conclude “no risk found,” it doesn’t mean those were the real scientific findings of the investigation!
Dr. Henry Lai, a University of Washington scientist in cellular and molecular engineering, reviewed 85 papers on the DNA-damaging effects of cell phone radiation. He and his colleague had found from their own research that cell phone radiation could cause DNA damage in brain cells.
What did he find when he took a closer look at these studies?
A whopping three-fourths of the papers that showed no toxic effects were funded either by the wireless industry or the military. Eighty percent of those that showed potential negative effects were not linked to the industry.
Even Time reported: Independent studies on cell phone radiation found dangers at more than twice the rate of industry-funded studies.
The Blow to the Wireless Industry
As cell phone usage around the world expands, evidence continues to mount against their safety, even though the industry still insists cell phones are safe.
Possibly the biggest blow to the industry came in 2011 when the International Agency for research on Cancer (IARC), an arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), declared cell phones a Class B carcinogen.
This classification puts cell phones squarely in the same category of certain pesticides and heavy metals as well as engine exhaust.