Since the World Cancer Day is round the corner, let us look at some of the most talked about research in the ‘cell phone radiation and its impacts’ domain. While some of the popular research studies have explicitly talked about radio frequency radiation (RF) and its harmful effects on overall health, most are full of “mays” and “probablies”. There is another school of thought which concludes that the effects are minimal and can be mitigated by adopting some best practices. Considering that cell phones today have become an integral part of our everyday lives, ditching the handheld altogether is not just practical. Hence, adopting best practices and imbibing them as a habit, is what we can look at.
These are what some of the research institutes opine: Cell phones emit radio frequency radiation which can cause damage to cellular DNA, which may in turn lead to cancerous mutations. This RF exposure causes the human body to release heat stress proteins, which is actually a protective measure that is harmful if this stress response is continuing. The World Health Organization (WHO) has called cell phone radiation as a Class 2B Carcinogen – the same class as the pesticide DDT and lead!
While many think that the radiation coming from cell phones can cause cancer or other serious health issues, empirical scientific evidence has not yet linked cell phones with any serious health problems such as cancer. This is not to discount the fact that it is not harmful at all.
However, between the ‘ifs’ and ‘may’s doing the rounds, it is but prudent to incorporate some safety measures into our lives, just to ensure that we better stay safe than sorry in the long run.
It’s advisable to use text or use a blue-tooth/headset/speaker instead of calling. The impact of radiation largely depends on the proximity of the phone to your vital organs, especially the brain. When we make a call and place the phone to our ear, radiation impacts the brain. Using a headset or using the speaker phone mode or a Bluetooth reduces the impact. That is why texting is much better than calling.
Don’t use the phone at night because you are more prone to be a victim of environmental toxins and radiation when you are sleeping. The body is then in the parasympathetic mode – the rest and digest mode of the nervous system. This is the time when the body’s immunity is down and biological repair process is at its pinnacle. Many of us use our phones as an alarm or keep it on the bedside table. Since it’s close to the brain, damage can be the most. Even if we keep our phone on the airplane mode, the battery is still emitting harmful magnetic field.
Never put phones in your pockets or clip it to your belt. Even when you are not making a call, your phone is still emitting radiations to reach out to the nearest antenna. Keeping your phone at a distance is the best possible option.
Also, children are more prone to absorb radiation owing to their thinner skulls and bones, than adults. Radiation can penetrate their brain tissues even more as they have higher concentration of fluids and ions. Even one simple cell phone call lasting two minutes can cause hyperactivity in children that may last for 1 hour. Similarly, pregnant woman should also be cautious while using a radiating cell phone.
While it is true that electromagnetic fields and radiation can cause health hazards to varying degrees, it would be going too far to claim that radiation from cell phones can be a root cause for cancer. But then again, why take a chance. Follow the best practices outlined above and you will never have to worry about anything closely related to your health issues caused by your favourite smartphone.