whispercricket: (Default)
[personal profile] whispercricket
Over the years, I've read bits and pieces of information about cell phones and radiation (or microwaves, or wireless networks, etc.). Mostly, what I saw was vague (or extreme) enough that I moved most electric items away from the bed, told myself that I needed to use a headset for my phone, tried to stay back from the microwave when it was on just in case, and sort of forgot about the rest.

However yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] lilairen mentioned an environmentally-focused blog that she sometimes reads, and paging back through its archives randomly, I found an entry called "10 Ways to Limit Health Risk from Cell Phones".

Well, if the French (and other countries) are banning cell phone use in their public elementary schools, then that's interesting...I had also heard that at least one Canadian university had decided not to roll out a WiFi network due to potential health concerns (the radiation, it's everywhere! O.O).

Even more alarming was the report (which I thought was linked off the DailyGreen entry, but now doesn't seem to be - how odd) called Cellphones and Brain Tumors: 15 Reasons for Concern (Science, Spin, and the Truth Behind Interphone). I haven't done any checking as to what dissenting responses may exist to the report (happy to get that information), but the report at least is endorsed by a range of scientists, doctors, etc - not just one or two specific people. I found its review of the data to be a bit alarming but not alarmist or sensationalized - I would be very interested in knowing other people's reactions as well.

An inset quote from the report: “In a world where a drug cannot be launched without proof that it is safe, where the use of herbs and natural compounds available to all since Egyptian times are now questioned, their safety subjected to the deepest scrutiny, where a new food cannot be launched without prior approval, the idea that we can use mobile telephony, including masts, and introduce WiFi and mobile phones without restrictions around our 5 year olds is double-standards gone mad. I speak, not just as an editor and scientist that has looked in depth at all the research, but as a father that lost his beloved daughter to a brain tumour.” Chris Woollams, Editor, Integrated Cancer and Oncology News, Icon Magazine

The report also notes that the effects of cell phone radiation are the sort that would build up over time and amount of exposure, and it's really just getting to the point where 10+ year studies or reviews can actually be attempted.

Both pages had some suggestions for reducing your exposure to cell phone radiation (which I mostly combined into one list):

  • Use a wired headset (Bluetooth still has emissions, but much less than the phone itself) / speaker-phone mode / text message mode in order to talk with the phone away from your head and body as much as possible.

  • Carry the cellphone away from your body (especially pockets) or use a holster designed to shield the body from cellphone radiation when in standby mode (keypad towards body / back towards outside, if possible). According to the report, most cell phones come with instructions stating that the phone needs to be kept a certain distance from the body for safe use - it's just that people don't tend to read the documentation.

  • Avoid use in a moving car, train, bus, or rural area at distance from cell tower.

  • Use a corded land-line phone whenever possible instead of a cordless or wireless phone; keep cordless / wireless conversations short (note: some cordless phones are higher powered than others - DECT are the most similar to cell phones, I believe).

  • Switch ears regularly while communicating; do not put phone to your ear until the other person has answered.

  • Avoid use inside of buildings, particularly with steel structures.

  • Do not sleep with a cellphone at bedside / under pillow (especially children).

  • Do not allow children under 18 to use a cellphone (or wireless high power phone) except in emergencies.

  • Choose a phone with the lowest SAR possible (interestingly, the iPhone 3G has twice the SAR rating as the iPhone 3GS).

Date: 2009-09-23 07:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] paladin-of-gaia.livejournal.com
They actually had a scientist on Talk of the Nation a number of months back saying that bluetooth resulted in less radiation exposure then wired headsets because apparently the radiation travels across the whole wire. I don't know...I've gotten in the habbit of moving my phone a couple feet away from me anytime I'm stationary or in the car. I've actually been rather concerned about the effects of ambient wireless device radiation for a while, but truth be told this doesn't rate that high on the list of environmental hazards I expect to result in my untimely demise.

Date: 2009-09-24 03:06 am (UTC)
brooksmoses: (Default)
From: [personal profile] brooksmoses
According to the report, most cell phones come with instructions stating that the phone needs to be kept a certain distance from the body for safe use - it's just that people don't tend to read the documentation.

Frankly, the reason that I have not paid much attention to that documentation is that it is worded in a way that implies to me "our lawyer says that if we put this in then people can't sue us about it" rather than "we actually have some reason to believe this is a real issue". (Also, I rarely carry my cellphone in my pocket anyway.)

It's one of the real problems of things like this that there's been so much hype and fear-driven insanity of reporting that it's very hard to recognize when there's potentially a real issue.

Date: 2009-09-24 02:47 pm (UTC)
laurion: (Default)
From: [personal profile] laurion
Meh. I tend to think that I'm exposed to RF radiation all the time. Cell towers, television towers, microwave ovens, wifi, radio, shortwave, high tension power lines, medical equipment, etc (and I'm not counting the visible light spectrum as out bodies are -definitely- well evolved to handle that). I'm not convinced having a cellphone in my pocket is going to make things any worse. I have a bluetooth handsfree radio in my car for convenience and -driving safety more than anything else. I have this dirty suspicion that the French schools banned cell phones truly because cell phones in schools are another form of distraction for students and an interruption of the whole class, but that they had to pass it under health regulation so as not to face judicial actions on contravening individual rights. For every study I've seen saying that that such radiation might cause a problem I've seen another study that says it doesn't.


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