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The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation

Did you go over you minutes last month? Sure, those cell phone bills may be draining your wallet, but they are nothing when compared to the chemotherapy bills you’ll be paying down the road.

Every year, more and more conflicting research comes out on the health hazards of cell phones, linking and unlinking cell phone radiation to brain tumors. The result: widespread consumer confusion.

The truth is cell phone radiation levels are comparable to those emitted by microwaves, which some scientist deem safe, but, to put it in perspective, one of these products sits on our countertops and the other we put on our faces – for extended periods of time.

A recent article in Newsweek not only described the health hazards of cell phones, but also revealed the varying levels of radiation they produce when used in urban and rural areas.

“Experts say the concern over cell-phone use stems from a form of radiation that’s produced when the devices communicate with their base station. Wireless phones transmit via radio frequency (RF), a low-frequency form of radiation that is also used in microwave ovens and AM/FM radios. While high-frequency radiation (the kind used in X-rays) is known to cause cancer at high doses, the risks of this milder form remain unclear. A cell phone’s main source of RF is its antenna, from which it sends a signal to the nearest base-station antenna. The further a cell phone is from the base station, the more RF it needs to establish and maintain a connection. So, the theory is that any risks posed by RF would be greater for people who live and work in areas with fewer base stations. In fact, Israeli researchers reported earlier this month in the American Journal of Epidemiology that long-term cell-phone users living in rural areas faced a “consistently elevated risk” of developing tumors in the parotid gland (a salivary gland located just below the ear) compared with users who live in suburban or urban areas.”

In response to such research, the French Health Ministry issued a warning against excessive cell phone use, especially by children, on Jan.2, 2008. A recent marketing surge of cell phones specifically designed for children has raised concern since youngsters are particularly vulnerable to their possible health effects, the Ministry of Health, Youth and Sports said in a statement. Some researchers believe younger cell phone users may face a higher risk of developing tumors because their nervous systems are not fully developed and their skulls are not as thick as those of adults.

[image courtesy of www.royriggs.co.uk]

In a Reuters article on the Ministry’s warning, Brian Rohan explains the flaws of short-term research on the link between cell phone radiation and cancer:

“A November 2006 report from the World Health Organization (WHO) said available evidence suggests long-term exposure to radio-frequency and microwave radiation from mobile phones had no adverse health effects. However, the WHO said other studies pointed to an increased risk of tumors in people who have used an analogue mobile phone for more than 10 years.

A British study released in September 2007 said mobile phones did not pose short-term health risks, but scientists noted that studies to date included few participants who had used mobile phones for longer than ten years — the time many cancers take to appear.”

The main problem with all these studies is that cell phones have been widely available for about a decade, where as tumors can take up to twice as long to develop. Due to the rapid absorption of mobile phone technology, the majority of our nation is now carelessly handling these products without any conclusive evidence telling us they are safe.

[photo courtesy of memopisaellodo.blogspot.com]

If pregnant women are advised to stay away from microwaves, shouldn’t that tell you something about their effects on our health? If cell phones are not safe for children, why would they be safe for adults? Until the government puts some tougher standards on cell phone radiation, the best thing to do is be smart: use hands-free devices (not the wireless kind), keep cell phones away from your body as often as possible and always keep them away from children (what do they need them for, anyway?).

Also, the Federal Communications Commission requires manufacturers to report the relative amount of radio frequency absorbed into the head by any given cell phone. This number is known as the SAR, or specific absorption rate, you can find out how to check your phone’s SAR on this site.

If you still think cell phones are 100 percent safe, just think back to the downfall of cigarettes – only a few decades separate us from a time when Phillip Morris used to put out “scientific research” stating that tobacco and nicotine did not pose any serious health problems. Fast-Forward to 2008 and the profiteering liars are now Motorola, Samsung and LG – pridefully sponsoring your local newscasts, not only during commercial breaks, but also in their content.

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