23 Mar 2015
Even though the radiation cell phones emit is negligible, as a principle people should take precautions, and therefore cell companies should provide some sort of heath warning.
Cell phones have to emit a small amount of radiation just to operate. They emit signals via radio waves that are comprised of radio-frequency (RF) energy, which is a form of electromagnetic radiation. Cell phones are generally placed against the ear, and therefore there is a possibility that some of this radiation will be absorbed by human tissue. However studies have shown that the radiation generated is negligible.
There are two kinds of electromagnetic radiation. Ionising radiation has enough energy to change chemical reactions in the body. X-rays and Gamma rays are examples of this. It is known that ionisation radiation is harmful, and that is why lead is used to protect the body during x-rays. Non-ionising radiation is known to have some heating effect, but without long-term damage caused to the body. RF energy, microwaves and visible light are examples of non-ionising radiation
The rise in temperature of the surface of the brain caused by RF radiation from cell phones is no more than 0,3 degrees, while the brain naturally fluctuates about 1 degrees up or down. Damage to the brain cells is only caused when there is at least a 5 degrees rise in temperature. Therefore the heat effects of RF radiation can be seen as harmless to humans.
High levels of RF radiation can damage human tissue by heating it. The eyes in particular are susceptible because of the low blood flow in the area. There is also concern about the long-term effects of non-ionising radiation, but there is not much evidence to support this because cell phones have only become popular in the last 12 years or so. Although, so far tests like in Norway have not shown an increase in cancer in the group of 420,000 mobile phone users compared to the expected cancer rate of the population. However, mobile companies funded this study, and its reliability can therefore be questioned.
There has also been speculation that the base stations and antennas can cause leukemia and other diseases. Only the antenna itself emits radio waves, not the entire structure that supports it. However, it has been shown that to be negatively affected by these towers would mean you would almost have to be touching it. Towers that have antennas don't emit radiation. In the base stations, the level of radiation rapidly decreases the further away you are - 10 meters way, the dose is 0,1% of what it was 1 meter away, 0,0125% 20 meters away, and so on.
But because we are still dealing with radiation, it is wise to still take some precautions, by using a hands free headset, or not talking for hours. Holding the phone about 20cm away from one's ear has also shown a 98% drop in radiation doses. These would especially apply to children whose brains are still developing and therefore are more susceptible to radiation than adults.
Even though the evidence has shown that the effects of RF radiation, and the dangers of base stations and antennas are negligible, there is still a lot inconclusive evidence about the long-term effects of cell phone radiation, and therefore it would seen ethical that cell phone companies provide some kind of warning, or list of precautionary measures along with each new phone purchased.
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