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July 9th, 2015 | Health and Wellness
My husband and I have been having some pretty heated debates over the last few weeks – what about you may ask? Mobile phone radiation – a topic very dear to my heart and one I will argue passionately about….just ask my husband James.
James considers himself a bit of a scientist and it is his belief that there are no conclusively proven results that show mobile phones can lead to cancer or brain tumours or any other harmful medical diseases. He quotes a 20-year Scandinavian study from 2012 (along with a number of others that have similar findings) that claims there is no correlation between brain tumors (glioma) and mobile phone use (don’t stop reading here!)
Ironically I consider myself a scientist too – it just turns that out my husband and I read different scientific studies and always manage to prove our own point (anyone else out there finds this to be the case with science these days)?
So low and behold in 2014 (just last year) the Scandinavians, Swedish this time, came out with a new study showing long term cell phone use triples brain tumour risk. This correlates with a French study from 2014 that showed that people who spent half an hour on the phone daily were 2 – 3 times more likely to develop glioma (the most common malignant brain tumour).
So the question is which studies are right? Well, we seem to be at loggerheads on which one is right but what I insist is that I’m not prepared to be a human guinea pig to find out whether mobile phones ‘might’ be causing brain cancer! I’m sure the first studies of DDT said this chemical concoction was safe but then look at what happened further down the track, people are still suffering from the long-term effects of this poisonous spray.
Interestingly DDT, mobile phones and lead are all categorised as ‘2B’ meaning ‘Possible Human Carcinogenic’ by the World Health Organisation (although my prediction is this rating will be upgraded to 2A ‘Probable Human Carcinogenic’ in the future). If something is a possible carcinogen – I tend to steer clear.
The long term effects of mobile phones are still so unknown. One thing that is for sure is there is increasing research into and awareness of the long term health impact of mobile phones. Berkeley City Council (where I use to stomp around in my student days) has recently voted unanimously to require retailers to warn customers of possible radiation exposure from mobile phones (much to the distaste of the mobile companies). You can watch the news clip here,
Mobile phones use radio frequency (RF) electromagnetic energy (a form of non-ionising radiation) to talk to each other. The communication works in much the same way a walkie talkie does, however with mobile phones a cell tower sits in between the phones communicating. When mobile phones come in contact with the body, there is a good chance that the radiation will be absorbed by the human tissue.
Where this really hits home for me is the impact of mobile radiation on developing children’s brains. According the Environmental Health Trust ‘Early childhood and pregnancy are some of the highest-risk times for radiation exposure. Because of rapid development and higher sensitivity to the impacts of radiation, parents and expecting parents should be aware of the risks of exposure from cell phones, tablet computers, and other wireless technologies’.
Children are more vulnerable to mobile phone radiation; this is a fact. Due to children’s thinner skulls, they receive 2 times as much exposure to radiation in the brain and 10 times as much in the bone marrow of the skull compared to adults using a mobile phone. Imagine how if effects a little baby’s brain…
ANTI-RADIATION PHONE CASE
For me personally, I have an anti-radiation mobile phone cover called the Pong Radiation Protection Case. I found these products in the US and started reading their plethora of research on reducing phone radiation (they have an incredible research team behind their product). I got one for myself (and yes James uses one too :)). I loved them so much that I started stocking them on the Nourishing Hub – now so many of my friends and family have them, as well as many of my beautiful customers all over Australia.
The Pong mobile phone cases reduce radiation (the Specific Absorption Rate – SAR) by 89%. The cases have a built-in antenna that redirects radiation.
Here are some additional recommendations from Rong Wang PhD from the Pong team on reducing cell phone radiation exposure:
AVOID BODY CONTACT
Follow the phone manufacturer’s warnings found in your owner’s manual and avoid using or carrying your cell phone against your head or body at all times. Most recommend having at least 10mm of space between you and your phone. That means you shouldn’t keep it in your pocket and women shouldn’t keep it in their bra.
Whenever possible, text rather than talk. As your hand (used for texting) is further from your body this distance creates a much larger buffer between you and the powerful near field radiation from the phone.
USE SPEAKER MODE OR A WIRED HEADSET
If a call must be made, use the speakerphone or a wired headset. When holding the phone against your head for a call you are increasing the amount of radiation your head will be absorbing. Near field radiation from the phone is most concerning when the phone is against your body. The speaker or wired headsets reduce the amount of near field radiation you are exposed to.
Limit the length of your cell phone conversations. Less time talking with a phone against your head equals less radiation going into your body. Use a corded landline phone if available. Do not use a cordless phone for long conversations.
LIMIT KIDS CELL PHONE USE TIME
Children should only use cell phones for emergencies or strictly in speaker mode at a safe distance. A child’s body is still developing and cell phone radiation penetrates a child’s brain more deeply than an adult brain. Very few studies have been completed on the effect of this radiation on children’s development.
SWITCH SIDES OF HEAD WHEN TALKING
Switch sides regularly during a cell phone call to reduce radiation exposure to just one side of your head. Most of us use the same hand all the time to hold the phone when we talk. Try to switch to your other hand and it will help so that one side of your head doesn’t always get all the radiation.
AVOID USE WHEN LOW SIGNAL
Avoid using your mobile phone when the signal is weak or when moving at high speed, such as in a car or train. These scenarios cause mobile phones to increase their transmitting power in an attempt to connect to the nearest cell tower. You get more radiation and your battery drains faster under these conditions.
WAIT FOR CALL CONNECTION
When making a call, wait for the call to connect before placing the phone next to the ear. The phone emits the most intense radiation during the initial connection, then lowers its power once a connection is established.
BE CAREFUL ABOUT “SHIELDING” PRODUCTS
Avoid using products on your cell phone that claim to “shield” cell phone emissions, because they may interfere with the phone’s signal. This may cause it to draw even more power and possibly emit more radiation as it is working harder to communicate. (Note: The Pong case does not shield radiation. Instead, it redirects and redistributes radiation, to reduce your exposure.)
BE CAREFUL ABOUT WHAT CASE YOU USE
Do not use a cell phone case unless it has been proven not to increase SAR or weaken your cell phone signal. Many standard cases can weaken the cell phone’s signal, shorten battery life, or increase radiation emissions.
USE AIRPLANE MODE
Turn your cell phone off or put it in airplane mode when not in use. If you must leave your cell phone on at night, keep your cell phone away from your head and body while you are sleeping. Your phone continues to emit radiation even when you are not making a call.
I will leave it up to you to do your own research as the facts do seem to be divided on this one. I guess the question to you is what risk are you personally willing to take with mobile phone radiation?
Have a beautiful weekend!
PS: I have been testing some yummy recipes this week – so watch this space for some treats.