There has been much conjecture and numerous studies regarding the safety of mobile phones, in particular the potential hazards of exposure to electromagnetic radiation from handsets and base stations.
The consensus of the World Health Organization (WHO) and global medical and scientific communities is there is no substantial evidence of an increased risk of cancer or other adverse health effects.
However, we should err on the side of caution by keeping mobile calls short, using hands-free kits and limiting the use of mobiles by children, as their brains are still developing, which makes them more vulnerable to adverse effects from radiation.
While most of the debate around the safety of cell phones has centred on the dangers of exposure to radiation and motor vehicle accidents if mobiles are used while driving, it should also be noted that having a mobile phone for communication in case of emergency is a safety and rescue tool which can save lives.
Mobile phones are safe if used prudently and sparingly by adults who heed the safety warnings of not talking or texting while driving, turning phones off during sleep and keeping talk times to sensible levels. Also, check the specific absorption rate (SAR) rating of any cellphone you purchase. The SAR is the rate at which radiation is absorbed by the body and varies from one handset to another. All mobile phones must pass certain safety requirements, but it makes sense to buy one with a SAR value that is in a lower range.
It is too early to say whether mobiles are safe in the long term. There has been considerable research into this topic, so you can wait until researchers can conclusively state that it causes a disease process or you can heed warning signs.
There are a few important facts. Radio waves at their current guideline levels can cause a change in brain activity, although it is not known why. All experts agree that we should limit the use of mobiles by young children. Tests on mice have shown radiation from mobile phones can have an adverse effect on their overall health and some studies have suggested that electromagnetic radiation did affect human brain tissue.
You can minimise your exposure to cellphone radiation in the following ways:
- Use only when necessary for short calls.
- Ensure kids only use mobiles if it is absolutely necessary.
- Find out the absorption rate (SAR) of your mobile.
- Keep your mobile away from your body when on standby.
- Only use your phone when the reception is strong – more energy is used by the phone in weak reception areas.
- If possible, use a mobile phone that has an external antenna – this keeps radio waves further from your head.