IntroductionToday mobile phones have completelyengraved into our lives. We all spend so much time with our mobile phones andtablets that it is extremely hard to think without these devices in one singleday of our life. But with the ever-increasing number of mobile phones manyfolks around the world have been attempting to ascertain whether or not thesedevices are actually extremely harmful to our health. Is radiation emitted fromthe mobile devices actually harmful for us? From1st Sept. 2013, only the mobile handsets with revised Specific Absorption Rate (SAR)value of 1.
6 watts per kilogram (1.6 W/kg) would be permitted to bemanufactured or imported in India. The limit for public exposure from cellulartelephones is an SAR level of.Any cell phone at or below the SARlevel is a “safe”phone. One can check Radiation level in terms of SAR of his or her smart phoneby dialing a USSD code *#07#.
If a results show SAR below 1.6 W/kgthen it is OK otherwise he or she should change Smartphone immediately. TheIndian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has informed that in a number of studies it has been reported that exposure toradiation from mobile phones causes adverse health effects. But the dataavailable is not conclusive so far on this issue. However, many scientificevidences indicate some possible adverse health effects of Radio FrequencyRadiation (RFR) which require further investigations. Even the World HealthOrganization (WHO) (2011) classified the radio frequency electromagneticradiations emitted from wireless phone under group 2 B-carcinogen category afterreviewing the studies published between 2000 to May 2011.
Due to this fact,many countries have developed health based precautionary guidelines forexposure of electro-magnetic frequency from cell phone towers including India.Reviewof LiteratureSome of the studiesare being conducted in India on the issues related to Health effects of Radiationsemitted from mobile phone and mobile phone towers.1. Department of Human Genetics, Guru NanakDev University, Amritsar has conducted number case studies in this area both onanimals and human volunteers.
Study reported cytogenetic damage in tissues ofsome individuals using cell phones over a period of time. The data revealedincreaser number of micro nucleated buccal cells and cytological abnormalitiesin cultured lymphocytes indicating the genotoxic response from mobile phoneuse. As exposure to radiofrequency radiations has been reported to affectphysiological, neurological, cognitive and behavioural changes and to induce,initiate and promote carcinogenesis; threat to human health has been suggestedfor mobile phone users (Gandhi et al.,2005).
2. The Indian Council of Medical Research(ICMR) supported an animal study (2005-08) to find out the effect of RFR onmale reproduction at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) New Delhi. The resultsindicated significant reduction in testicular size, weight and in sperm counts.
The data also indicated that the chronic exposure to Radio Frequency Radiation(RFR) imitated from cell phone causes a significant decrease in protein kinaseC and total sperm count along with increase apoptosis in male rat. The studysuggested that decrease in sperm count and increase in apoptosis may be acausative factor due to mobile radiation exposure leading to infertility(Kesari and Behari, 2008).3. National Institute of Technology (NIT),Calicut, Kerala, has reported headache, dizziness, numbness in the thigh, andheaviness in the chest among mobile phone users. The results indicated anincrease in the both parameters when mobile phone is kept close to chest and adecrease when kept close to the head. Mobile phone has caused changes in HeartRate Variability indices and the change varied with its position.
But theseobservations were not significant in comparison to without mobile condition(Ahmed et al., 2008).4.
PGIMER, Chandigarh, has conducted a study(Panda et al., 2010) and reported longterm and intensive mobile phone use may cause inner ear damage and based ontheir observations they have recommended following criteria’s for the releaseof harmful rays from mobile phones.a) Mobilephones should not be used continuously for more than one hour in a day.b) Handsfree technology to be used where excessive use of the mobile phone isunavoidable.
This includes use of microphones and Bluetooth so that the handsetremains away from the ear and thus avoids the direct impact of harmfulelectromagnetic radiations on the ear and the brain.c) Peopleto avoid long talks and discussions on mobile phones as far as possible. DiscussionsRadiofrequency energy is a form of electromagnetic radiation. Electromagnetic radiation can be categorized into twotypes: ionizing (e.g., x-rays, radon, and cosmic rays) and non-ionizing (e.g.,radiofrequency and extremely low frequency, or power frequency).
The energy ofelectromagnetic radiation is determined by its frequency; radiations high frequency, and therefore high energy, whereasnon-ionizing radiation is low frequency, and therefore low energy.The frequency of radiofrequencyelectromagnetic radiation ranges from 30 kilohertz (30 kHz, or 30,000 Hz) to300 gigahertz (300 GHz, or 300 billion Hz). Electromagnetic fields in theradiofrequency range are used for telecommunications applications,including cell phones, televisions, and radio transmissions. The humanbody absorbs energy from devices that emit radiofrequency electromagneticradiation. The dose of the absorbed energy is estimated using a measure calledthe specific absorption rate (SAR), which is expressed in watts per kilogram ofbody weight.
Exposure to ionizing radiation, such as fromX-rays, is known to increase the risk of cancer. However, although many studieshave examined the potential health effects of non-ionizing radiation fromradar, microwave ovens, cell phones, and other sources, there is currentlyno consistent evidence that non-ionizing radiation increases cancer risk.The only consistently recognized biologicaleffect of radiofrequency energy is heating.
The ability of microwave ovens toheat food is one example of this effect of radiofrequency energy.Radiofrequency exposure from cell phone use does cause heating to the areaof the body where a cell phone or other device is held (ear, head, etc.).However, it is not sufficient to measurably increase body temperature, andthere are no other clearly established effects on the body from radiofrequencyenergy.It has been suggested that radiofrequencyenergy might affect glucose metabolism, but two small studies that examinedbrain glucose metabolism after use of a cell phone showed inconsistentresults. Whereas one study showed increased glucose metabolism in the region ofthe brain close to the antenna compared with tissues on the opposite side ofthe brain, the other study found reduced glucose metabolism on the side of thebrain where the phone was used.Another study investigated whether exposure tothe radiofrequency energy from cell phones affects the flow of blood inthe brain and found no evidence of such an effect.The authors of these studies noted that theresults are preliminary and that possible health outcomes from changes inglucose metabolism are still unknown.
Such inconsistent findings are notuncommon in experimental studies of the biological effects of radiofrequencyelectromagnetic radiation. Some contributing factors include assumptions usedto estimate doses, failure to consider temperature effects, and lack of blinding of investigatorsto exposure status.Resultsamong investigations were inconsistent, and these investigations indicatedlittle or no association between exposure to Radio Frequency and microwaveradiation and cancer. It should be noted that the weak evidence oncarcinogenicity obtained from several epidemiological studies applies only to thetype of cancer studied and to the time intervals observed between exposure andoccurrence of disease. Also, experience with cancer in people indicates that,in some cases, the period from first exposure to the development of clinicalcancer is seldom less than 20 years; moreover, latency periods substantiallyshorter than 30 years cannot provide evidence for lack of carcinogenicity.
Progressand changes in mobile phone technology (such as analogue to digital signals)make it difficult to assess exposure in the people studied. Furthermore,because the use of mobile phones is relatively recent, it may be premature toconduct an exhaustive epidemiological assessment of its impact on health. Inthe case of cancer, for example, the information available does not rule outthe possibility of an association between the use of mobile phones and theoccurrence of this disease. Thus, it is advisable to monitor the incidence of tumourssupposedly associated with exposure to RF and microwave radiation, to assesspossible changes in trends.
10 tips to reduce to reduce cell phoneradiation1. Distance is your friend Whiletalking on your cell phone, prefer to position the cell phone away from yourbody as far as possible. Whenever possible, use the speaker-phone mode or anair tube wired headset (not a Bluetooth). The electromagnetic field (radiation)is one fourth the strength at a distance of two inches and fifty times lower atthree feet. 2.
Avoid using your cell phone when the signal is weak Avoid using your cell phones when the signal is weak or whenmoving at high speed, such as in vehicles (car, bus, train or airplane) andelevators as automatically power increases to emit a maximum amount ofradiation because the phone repeatedly attempts to connect to each nearestnetwork antenna.3. Avoid carrying your cell phone on your bodyat all times Do not carry a powered oncell phone in your pocket or bra.
Cell phones emit radiation constantly, evenwhen youare not actively using them. Power those 100% off before you carry them nearyour body. 4. Children should only usecell phones for emergencies. Children’sskulls are thinner than adults’ and their brains are still developing.
Hence,radiation from cell phones penetrates more deeply into their brains and islikely to cause more damage. 5. Do not sleep with your cell phone powered on Research shows that sleep is disrupted bycell phone radiation. Need an alarm clock? Simply put the phone on “airplane”or “flight” or “off-line” mode, which will stop “wireless” electromagnetic fieldemissions. 6. Use your home and office corded landline formost conversations Forwardyour cell phone to landlines whenever you are at home so you can turn the cellphone off without missing a call. Biological effects can be related to bothstrength of cell phone radiation dose and duration of exposure, so considerwhether or not your communication is urgent. Remember: Use a corded homelandline, not a home cordless phone, because those use electromagneticmicrowave technology just like cell phones.
Most cordless phone base stationsconstantly emit microwave radiation regardless whether or not any connectedhandset is in use. The cordless phone handsets also emit microwave radiation.Corded landlines have no radiation emissions and are the best choice.7.
Avoid using your cellphone in metal contained spaces like a car, elevator, bus, train or airplane Themetal surroundings reflect the waves inside the vehicle, often increasing yourradiation exposure. Your use also passively exposes other persons near you(children, pregnant women, and other adults) to your phone’s electromagneticradiation fields when you are in an enclosed space. 8. Whenever possible,minimize talk time and choose to communicate via text messaging rather thanmaking a voice call Whenever possible, minimize talk time andchoose to communicate via text messaging rather than making a voice call to limit the duration of exposure andthe proximity to the body. Hold the phone out, away from your body, when youpress “send” and do not rest your phone against your abdomen as you text.9. Protect your fertility Thisradiation has been shown to damage sperm and the ovaries. Many people move thephone away from their head to reduce exposure but down to their torsoforgetting that a cell phone or laptop to the abdomen results in higherradiation absorption to the reproductive organs.
10. Read your cell phone manual Tofind the minimum distance the federal government recommends that your cellphone must be kept away from your body. Keeping it closer than the designateddistance can result in a violation of the FCC Exposure Limit. Exceeding FCClevels is proven to result in burns, sterility, and brain damage. Learn moreabout fine print instructions at Show the Fine Print.
Org.SpecialNote for Pregnant Women: It is especiallyimportant that pregnant women reduce cell phone exposures because research hasshown cell phone radiation can damage to the brain and reproductive system indeveloping pregnancies. To learn more, please go to the Baby Safe Project.WHAT DO WE DO? BE SMART ABOUT THE SMARTPHONESmartphonesare an indispensable part of our work and social lives.
Business,entertainment, and social interaction, all are driven by mobile technology inthis day and age so it’s not easy to weed this out. WHO has announcedfor this year a formal risk assessment of all studied health outcomes fromradiofrequency fields. In the meantime we can definitely take these6 precautionary steps to reduce the effects of radiation from cell phones:1. Restrict use of the phone,keep calls short and use landlines to make calls as far as possible: We’retoo addicted to this lifestyle of constantly being on the phone. Apart fromphysical risks this poses many psychological risks as well. Let’s spend sometime away from the phone and smell the roses and the coffee! Trust us, theworld will not come crashing down if you’re away from your phone for more than10 seconds.2.
Keep device away from body: Keepa distance with the device and keep a distance from the radiation. So useheadphones or speaker mode while speaking on the phone. Don’t store it on yourperson in pockets etc. Keep it in bag, table or special kits created for thispurpose. Also, instead of tucking phones under your pillow with love just turnoff or put airplane mode. This is especially crucial for children as theirbodies are especially porous to radiation.
3. Texting is better thancalling: Again the idea is to keep device awayfrom body so text away to glory busy bees.4. Make calls when the signalis strong: Research shows that radiation exposureincreases dramatically when cell phone signals are weak.
Besides what’s thepoint of putting up with broken voices and screaming to make the other guy hearyou properly?5. Replace your current phonewith a low-radiation one: Yes, this is possible.Check out the emission levels of phones brand and model wise here andmake a smart buying decision.6. Switch off the wifi box atnight: This is not only good to decreaseexposure to radiation from wifi devices, but it’s also more ecological to shutdown electronic device when not in use.
Also wifi source should be at least 2meters (7 feet) away from where we sit and sleep. Recommendation and ConclusionsBasedon review of available literature, the following cautions/ recommendations aresuggested: a. Shortening the duration of use of mobile phones per day may reduce anyrisk associated with exposure to radiations from mobile phones. Therefore, itis highly recommended to limit the duration of conversation on mobile phones.b.
Since in vitro studies suggest that mobile phones may have thermaleffect on sensitive parts of the body, such as, eyes and testis, it isrecommended to minimize exposure to such body parts to be on safe side. c. c. Another in vitro study, also, suggests that growing and highlyproliferating cells are much more prone to the effect of mobile phones.Therefore, it is recommended to keep children from getting exposed toradiations of mobile phones. d. d.
Furthermore, more researches are required to address the conflictingreports of health risks from mobile telephone use, and to set clear guidelineregarding the exposure thresholds permissible to radiations from mobile phones.Theevidence available does not provide a clear pattern to support an associationbetween exposures to RF and microwave radiation from mobile phones and directeffects on health (such as increasing the risk of cancer). However, the qualityof this research and the relatively short-term data do not allow ruling outadverse effects on health completely.
In other words, the absence of evidenceof detrimental effects on health associated with mobile phone use is notevidence of absence of such effects. At the moment, it is impossible to statethat exposure to RF or microwave radiation (even below the permitted levels)does not have adverse effects on the health of the general population. Thecurrent evidence, however, does suggest that if there is a risk, it is small.Therefore, a precautionary approach (as recommended by the EU) to the use ofthis communication technology should be adopted until more scientific evidenceon effects on health becomes available. Finally, evidence shows that the use ofa mobile phone while driving translates into a significantly increased risk ofa traffic accident. References1. GandhiG, Singh P (2005).
Cytogenetic damage in mobile phone users: Preliminary datatitled Hum Genet 5(4): 259-265. 2. GandhiG, Anita (2007). Genetic damage in mobile phone users. Some preliminaryfindings Int J Hum Genet 11(2): 99-104. 3.
KesariKK and Behan J (2008), Comparative study of 900 MHz and 2.45 GHz radiationeffect on reproductive system of male rats. In Recent Advances and Challengesin Reproductive; Health Research, eds. R S Sharma et al, pp 363-377.
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