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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 them.

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 phones.

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 teenagers.

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 (www.fcc.gov/cgb/sar).

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 phones.

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.

    cell phone radiation, cell phone cancerRead our newsletter, by clicking the image to the right, to learn about some of the cell phone industry inside information.    

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 radiation

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