How Cell-phone Radiation Works
Potential Health RisksIn the late 1970s, concerns were raised that magnetic fields from power lines were causing leukemia in children. Subsequent epidemiological studies found no connection between cancer and power lines. A more recent health scare related to everyday technology is the potential for radiation damage caused by cell phones. Studies on the issue continue to contradict one another.
All cell phones emit some amount of electromagnetic radiation. Given the close proximity of the phone to the head, it is possible for the radiation to cause some sort of harm to the 118 million cell-phone users in the United States. What is being debated in the scientific and political arenas is just how much radiation is considered unsafe, and if there are any potential long-term effects of cell-phone radiation exposure.
There are two types of electromagnetic radiation:
- Ionizing radiation - This type of radiation contains enough electromagnetic energy to strip atoms and molecules from the tissue and alter chemical reactions in the body. Gamma rays and X-rays are two forms of ionizing radiation. We know they cause damage, which is why we wear a lead vest when X-rays are taken of our bodies.
- Non-ionizing radiation - Non-ionizing radiation is typically safe. It causes some heating effect, but usually not enough to cause any type of long-term damage to tissue. Radio-frequency energy, visible light and microwave radiation are considered non-ionizing.
The added concern with non-ionizing radiation, the type of radiation associated with cell phones, is that it could have long-term effects. Although it may not immediately cause damage to tissue, scientists are still unsure about whether prolonged exposure could create problems. This is an especially sensitive issue today, because more people are using cell phones than ever before. In 1994, there were 16 million cell-phone users in the United States alone. As of July 17, 2001, there were more than 118 million.
Here are a few illnesses and ailments that have potential links to cell-phone radiation:
links page at the end of this article for more information on these studies.
At high levels, radio-frequency energy can rapidly heat biological tissue and cause damage such as burns, according to a recent report from the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO), a nonpartisan congressional agency that audits federal programs. The report went on to state that mobile phones operate at power levels well below the point at which such heating effects would take place. The amount of radiation emitted from the devices is actually minute, and the U.S. federal government places limits on how much radiation a cell phone can emit.
In the next section, we'll look into how cell-phone radiation levels are tested.
The way I personally limit radiation is to only use my cell phone on speakerphone or hands free in my truck or my daughter's car. This works for me. So, only in relative emergencies do I ever put it up to my ear. This makes me feel much safer in not cooking my brain unnecessarily. When we are in my wife's car we usually use her phone hands free which is programmed to that one. This way I program myself and anyone else that will listen not to put a cell phone up to your ear unless there is no other feasible practical choice in that moment and every moment. The other thing I never do is to put a cellphone in a pocket near my heart. Putting a cellphone near your heart is a really bad idea if you like being alive long term because even if you aren't talking on it it is still sending signals and receiving them all the time and this will affect your heart ongoing. Also, a cell phone is designed to be more than 1/2 inch away from your upper leg in your pocket. So, if it is closer than that it sometimes will blister your leg or cause other physical problems there when on. So, what I do is to wear my wallet on a front pocket and then over the top of that I wear a cell phone. This avoids potential leg blisters from a phone too close to your skin in your pocket.