Mobile Phone Radiation and Health


hands texting with mobile phones in cafe

“We sometimes get all the information, but we refuse to get the message.” — Cullen Hightower

Radiation is a scary word because it’s often associated with radioactivity. Mobile phones emit a type of radiation. As of December 2004, there were 800 million mobile phone users in the world — which means a lot of radiation going around the world.

Does that mean the world is unsafe?

Indeed, some radiation can be scary — especially the high-energy ionising variety. When you lie in the sun, you are exposing yourself to solar radiation. Solar radiation is a form of ionising radiation that has enough energy to strip electrons from atoms and molecules and can lead to damage in biological tissue. That’s why limiting our exposure to the sun will reduce the risk of cancer. It’s not just the sun that produces damaging radiation. When you have an X-ray taken or board an airline, you are exposing yourself to high-energy ionising radiation.

All mobile phones operate in the radio frequency range. They emit radio frequency radiations. The good news is radio frequency radiation is a nonionising radiation. It does not have sufficient energy to dislodge electrons. The bad news is mobile phones haven’t been around too long to prove their innocence. Even though mobile phones emit radiation, whether exposure to such low level radiation will lead to some biological effects in the long term is unproven.

Research Findings 

Because of the growing use of mobile phones throughout the world, research into health hazards of mobile phones has intensified. Let’s look at some of the national and international research:

  • In 1995, Henry Lai and colleagues at the University of Washington in Seattle exposed rats to radio frequency radiation and found breaks in their brain cell DNA — an indicator of potential cancer-causing effects. Other groups could not confirm Lai’s results. Moreover, an experimental artifact was identified that might have accounted for Lai’s positive results. Lai continues to defend his original studies.
  • A study in an Adelaide hospital exposed cancer-prone mice to radiation at mobile phone frequencies for one hour a day over 18 months. Only 22 percent of the unexposed mice developed cancer, whereas 43 percent of the exposed mice developed cancer (lymphoma) — which prompted some to say, “Mobile phone radiation is almost certainly implicated in the promotion of cancer.” Others said, “The most one can say at this stage is that if there are mice in the community who are genetically predisposed to developing lymphoma, they are well advised not to use mobile phones.

” A follow up to the Adelaide work could not confirm the results of the earlier study.

  • In September 2002 the Swedish Radiation Protection Authority concluded that there is no consistent evidence of increased risk of cancer from using a mobile phone for up to five years. However, a 2003 Swedish study of people with brain tumours concluded that analog phones increased the risk of tumours.

The overall finding: None of studies have produced a repeatable, identifiable risk. That does not mean the controversy is over. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration summarised it succinctly: The available scientific evidence does not show that any health problems are associated with using mobile phones. There is no proof, however, that mobile phones are absolutely safe.

In the light of weak scientific evidence for health hazards of low-level mobile phone radiation, the World Health Organisation has recommended the use of precautionary principle, which states: “Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.”

In line with WHO recommendations, the ACA has introduced regulations to protect the public from known health effects of radio frequency radiation.

For more information, you can call on Orange Helpline Number and get in touch with its team.

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