Mobile Phone Safety
Is Your Cell Phone Transmiting Non-Stop? Check Your Auto-Sync Intervals
With today's smart phones, iPads, and other gadgets, there's a risk that people are not aware that their devices could be silently polling for data such as email and chat messages even when they are not actively using it. Thus, it's important to be aware that cell phones have options for turning off such "auto-sync," "internet," "wi-fi," or "bluetooth" modes, and using them as conventional voice-only phones which, in general, transmit much less frequently in standby mode.
Keep your Cell Phone Out of Your Pocket!
Distance is important not only for reduction of microwave exposure from cell phones, but also for reduction of a wide range of kHz frequencies from cell phones' LCD display and other electronics components. Only a few inches can result in a large reduction of these kHz frequencies. More distance is recommended, however, for microwave exposure, based on recommended safety levels. Cancers caused by cell phones are not limited to the brain, but also include other places where the cell phone is kept near the body. For example, salivary gland tumors have also been linked to cell phones.
Reduction of Microwaves with Distance
Reduction of Intermediate Radio-frequencies with Distance
Download 10 Precautions for Mobile Phones and other Electromagnetic Radiation Sources
Cell Phones and Health: Reasons Why Headsets are Not Enough
Experimental results have shown that exposures for insects as little as 6 minutes a day at levels comparable to 1 meter from a cell phone can cause adverse biological effects. (Most cell phones are within 1 meter from the body when texting or using speaker phone mode.)
If you are concerned about cell phone radiation, you might already have a low SAR cell phone and use it with a headset, speaker-phone mode, or text instead of talk. However, such precautionary measures, while helpful, may result in a false sense of security, and increased cell phone use.
Experimental Results Related to Duration of Use and Distance from Cell Phones
Levitt and Lai compile many studies on effects at low power levels in Environmental Reviews.
According to Dr. Dimitris Panagopoulos, short-term effects are found as low as 1 μW/cm2, found at approximately 1 meter from a cell phone or 100 meters from a base station antenna. This is 450 and 900 times lower than the ICNIRP standard limits at 900 and 1800 MHz. Longer-term exposures could result in effects at weaker intensities.
-Canadian Parliament meeting on April 29th, 2010.
Conclusion: While the extra distance provided by headsets, speakerphones, and texting does dramatically reduce the power density due to the inverse square law, there are still short-term biological effects of concern even at a 1 meter distance. Cells are extremely sensitive as can be seen by a table of effects by power level.
|Duration|| Cumulative Radiation Effects: According to Henry Lai's analysis, studies suggest that the radiation effects are cumulative, and that there are long-term effects of even low levels of nonionizing radiation. See Blake Levitt's Cell Towers: Wireless Convenience? or Environmental Hazard.
Cell Phones and Cell Death: According to Dr. Dimitris Panagopoulo, Only 6 minutes daily of GSM radiation for the insects' first 5 days of adulthood reduced reproduction by 60%. Cell death of reproductive cells and DNA fragmentation was discovered. The effect increased with daily duration of exposure as low as one minute to 21 minutes daily.
-Canadian Parliament meeting on April 29th, 2010.
Cell Phones and Brain Metabolism: The JAMA study of 2011 by NIH researchers showed that only 50 minutes of cell phone exposure could increase brain glucose metabolism.
Cell Phones and Cancer: Compare this to Interphone's study on mobile phones and brain cancer, which found increased risk after 10 years of heavy use. Journalists report that only 30 minutes daily fell into the heavy use category.
Designed for only 6 minutes a day: Professor Kumar (IIT) says that our cell phone standards are designed for 6 minutes of use per day (24 minutes per day if allowing a safety margin of 4).
Cell Phones and Infertility There are now several studies linking cell phones to infertility. One of these studies by Salama suggested that even occasional standby radiation could affect fertility.
Studies suggest that after 2 to 4 hours of exposure, sensitive cells may have changes in DNA and protein synthesis rates.
For many more scientific studies, check out the Science Overview and Proposed Mechanisms and Scientific Details pages. See how Children and young adults are especially at risk from cell phone use.
Conclusion: Exercise the prescribed precautions, but still use cell phones sparingly.
Devra Davis recommends the use of a headset or speaker phone mode, but she says we could do something even more radical-- turn off the phone. At the least, "Flight" mode could be used at night.
Why Smart Phones May Not be Smart for Your Health
Today, some smart phones are constantly "connected" for e-mail and other applications, depending upon cell phone settings and service provider offerings. This might easily provide hours a day of radiation, depending upon the auto-sync interval and/or Wi-Fi settings.
Franz Adlkofer of the Verum Foundation found that the newer 3G UMTS technology may cause 10 times the rate of DNA damage over GSM, as reported in Devra Davis's book Disconnect and by Powerwatch UK.
The Council of Europe raised concerns on "continuous pulse waves" and several studies have found different severities of biological effects between UMTS, GSM, and CDMA. However, such comparisons become quickly outdated as we move to newer 4G technologies.
The Interphone Analysis on Cell Phones and Cancer
Interphone's study on cell phones and cancer came before the immense popularity of smart phones, when most cell phones are probably in "standby" modes when they are not used. Still, it found heavy users had an increased risk after 10 years. This heavy use has been described as being on average 30 minutes or more a day of cell phone use.
Widespread heavy usage has only begun in the last few years. Devra Davis cautions that it takes decades to see effects in epidemiological studies, but we should not wait for enough people to be harmed before taking action. Even with smoking, there was a 20-year lag, and the lag may be shorter for smart phones and heavy users, and especially young people who have greater vulnerability.
Why SAR Ratings Could Be Misleading
Read more about the limitations of SAR here. The SAR standard not only ignores nonthermal effects, but is based on a human model that does not represent the majority of humans. It also has loopholes by not specifying the distance at which SAR must be measured (some providers are measuring at approximately 1 inch from the head.) Another loophole is that by looking at absorption across a wider area, it can ignore radiation "hot spots".
Additional Risk Factors
- Using cell phones in areas with limited signals can cause the cell phone to use higher power to compensate for the longer distance required to reach the nearest cell tower.
- Using cell phones on moving vehicles can be harmful, because they may transmit at higher power. Reflection against the vehicle's metal walls can further exacerbate the situation.
- Using cell phones on elevators can also be harmful due to the reflection of the signals against metal walls, which may magnify exposures.
- Young cell phone users appear to be most at risk of cancer from cell phone use.
- The Cell Phone Problem by Environment & Human Health, Inc.
- Disconnect A book about cell phones by Devra Davis
- Cellphones and Brain Tumors: 15 Reasons for Concern: Science, Spin and the Truth Behind Interphone
- GQ, Feb. 2010 — Warning: Your Cell Phone May Be Hazardous To Your Health
- American Trial Lawyer, 2008 — Illusion & Escape: The Cell Phone Disease Quagmire