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Cell Phone Radiation
The controversy over cell phones and whether the electromagnetic radiation
they use poses a health risk is becoming clearer. To those of you who decided to
follow the precautionary principle, you are right to do so until science can
come to a more definitive answer about the various claims.
To those of you who decided to ignore the growing alarm over the years -
consider protecting your infant children by restricting cell phone use near
The latest step in the debate was revealed in testimony this week by researchers
before a US Senate subcommittee on labour, health, and human services. They
spoke about the need for updated safety standards for cell phones. These
scientists, who are involved in studies on the effects of cell phone radiation
on humans, are calling on the Federal Communications Commission to provide more
protection for consumers by updating US safety standards for cell phones.
The fact that this testimony is being made in a country where the cell phone and
telecommunications sectors have spent millions of dollars in lobbying
politicians to ignore the issue and where government institutions have a
tendency to side with industry is significant.
Other countries, such as the UK and Finland, have issued cautionary warnings
about the use of cell phones. The warnings generally note that the scientific
evidence so far is inconclusive and that until more studies are completed it is
best to remain on the side of caution.
Finland, for example, has issued two advisories on the matter. The UK has issued
a similar advisory asking parents to limit their children's use of cell phones.
The EU, in the form of the European Commission, is currently considering more
stringent manufacturing rules for the bloc.
It is worth noting that the World Health Organization has stated that cancer is
unlikely to be caused by cellular phones. WHO plans to issue recommendations
about the health risks of mobile phones next month, so watch this space.
The inconclusiveness of the evidence for or against mostly rests with the lack
of long-term studies. Cell phones have not been around long enough to determine
whether low-level exposure over, say 20 years, could affect human health. But as
time goes on, the picture is becoming clearer, or is it?
More recent studies have suggested that those who have been heavy cell phone
users over a period of 10 years or more have an increased risk of developing
brain tumors on the same side of their heads where they normally hold their
The US has remained steadfastly firm against issuing any advisories, instead
countering the sometimes hysterical warnings by avowing that current scientific
evidence does not reveal any danger, including to younger children and
Of course, most of us need to use our cell phones. It is a key business tool.
But as consumers we should start checking the SAR ratings of cell phones before
buying them. SAR stands for 'Specific Absorption Rate', which is a measure of
the level of the heat generated by the radiation emitted by cell phones.
The current US standard, followed by most of the world, is a SAR exposure rate
of 1.6 watts per kilogram.
For now, all you can do is make sure your cell phone scores as low as possible
below this standard. You can get down to below 0.4 SAR on some phones.
The US Federal Communications Commission publishes the SAR ratings for all
approved phones sold in the USA so that is one place to start checking
Another site to check is the Environmental Working Group
(www.ewg.org/cellphone-radiation), a non-profit research and advocacy group,
which has an online consumer guide with the SAR ratings for about 1,000 cell
Look at the current state of the evidence and make an informed choice. That is
all we can do for now as responsible parents. For yourself, consider going hands
free as much as possible.
To learn more inquire these other search
topics: cell phone danger, cell phone cancer, cell phone radiation
shield, electromagnetic field, EMF effects, brain cancer and cell phone, cell phone electromagnetic