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Mobile phones have become an inseparable part of our lives. Irrespective of whether we are at home or at office, no task can be completed without the use of a cell phone.
The cell phone user numbers in the world are increasing consistently with every passing day. While the cell phones have made our life more convenient, it is a fact that they emit harmful radiation. You would have heard the news linking brain tumour cases with increased use of cell phones.
Scary as it sounds, there has been considerable increase in the number of brain tumour cases over the past two decades, and most of these are said to have been due to the electromagnetic field radiation from the cell phones.
The Link Between Cell Phone Use And Brain Tumour
According to various studies conducted on risks associated with cell phone use, it is said that when you hold your cell phone close to your ear, 10 to 80 per cent of the radiation penetrates two inches into the brain, and it is even deeper in case of children.
In worst cases, the long-term use of cell phone is even believed to rupture the brain neurons.
Prolonged usage of cell phones (duration of call) is associated with increased risk of brain tumour in humans. Some studies also reveal that the risk for brain tumour doubled among those who used cell phones for more than 25 years, and tripled in those who began using mobile phones before 20 years of age.
Depending on the number of calls you receive in a day, the duration and usage per day, heavy cell phone use can lead to mental health issues too. Your proximity to cell phones, especially when sleeping, can also cause other issues associated with brain illness such as migraine, depression, anxiety and disturbed sleep.
The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, in its report last year, associated 33 per cent increase in brain tumour (Giloma) rates among people who used their cell phones, for a duration of more than 45 minutes over a ten-year period.
There is also a major increase in the number of brain tumour cases when people continued to keep it under their pillow when sleeping. The phone radiation does not impact only the adults; it also has a negative impact on brain activity in children, causing their brain cells to damage easily.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a part of WHO, in its review on evidence on the use of cell phones has revealed cell phone use as being possibly carcinogenic to humans.
How Does Cell Phone Usage Pose Health Risk?
The radio frequency energy emitted by cell phones (also known as radio waves) is a type of non-ionizing radiation, emitted from their antennas, and our nearest tissues tend to absorb this energy.
The biological impact of this radio waves energy is heating, which is comparable to that of microwave ovens that are used to heat food.
The exposure to radio frequency energy from cell phones produces heat in the area of the body where the cell phone is held, irrespective of whether it is the ear or the head. Although this heating does not lead to increase in body temperature or anything of that sort, it can damage the organ near which it is held for prolonged periods of time.
Who Are At Risk?
Although the radiation risk is the same for all, certain populations are at higher risk of harmful radiation. Pregnant women, particularly, their unborn, young children, adolescents, men desiring to father children (as the radiation can hinder the quality of sperm), and people living in rural areas due to weaker reception.
When young children begin using cell phones at an early age, they have a lifetime of cell phone use ahead of them, and hence all the potentially harmful health risks associated with the use of cell phones for decades. Moreover, their bodies are not fully developed, and cell phone radiation penetrates easily into their bodies.
Some Precautions To Be Taken
Now, in this fast developing world, and world of technology, we cannot avoid use of cell phones altogether. But, we can take adequate measures to reduce the radiation impact on the user. Here are some ways to do so:
• Keep the phone at a significant distance when not in use.
• Limit the duration of talk and usage per day, as this can make a huge difference. Use land phones when you have to talk for a long time.
• Switch to hands-free mode when receiving calls to reduce the tissue damage risk.
• Pregnant women should limit use of cell phones, and also never keep a cell phone on the ear of a baby. Keep calls short.
• Check your cell phone signal before making a call, as a good signal implies less radiation.
• Charging a phone emits high radiation. So the best way is to charge it in another room.
• When talking, switch ears regularly so that radiation is distributed evenly.
• Prefer texting over talking, as talking compels your phone to emit more radiation.
• Do not keep the cell phones underneath your pillow when sleeping.
And finally, to sum it up, always remember that cell phone is only an accessory, a tool for your use when necessary, and not an obligation.