Of Cells and Brains

Cell phones make extensive use of radio frequency electromagnetic fields to function properly. From this point of view, cell phones are pretty much like sophisticated digital radios with computer power, connected to large radio or wireless networks. However, unlike old style radios, cell phones must be used in close contact with our body and specially our brains.

And it is here where the issue starts. What is the impact on our health if we expose it to electromagnetic emissions on a constant basis? How much of the radiation emitted by cell phones can our body and brains absorb? Historically, there is really no precedent for this -for a new technology than in less than 15 years is being used by 5 billion subscribers across the globe. So there is not any scientific evidence so far of such impact as we do not have access to long-term data and research.

At any rate,  it is here where the debate started more than 10 years ago when the first reports suggested that some heavy users of mobiles were developing a special form of brain cancer (called glioma) associated with electromagnetic fields. Form sure, correlation should not be confused with causality, not at all.

Needless to say, cell phone emissions are regulated by governments. For this purpose, something called the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) has been developed to create a standardized measure. In the US for example the current maximum SAR allowed is 1.6 watts per kilogram. Maximum SAR levels have been increasing over the years under pressure from cell phone manufacturers.

A few days ago WHO released a report confirming suggesting that cell phones can potentially increase the risk of brain cancer in humans. However, the WHO study clearly says that there is no direct evidence that cell phone use  do cause brain cancer. The report calls for additional research specially now that kids and younger people are using mobiles all the time.

So how about your phone? Do you know how much radiation you are absorbing on a daily basis by just having your wonderful and super powerful smart phone close to you? If you don’t check this list here. Good luck.

I use a Nexus One which has a SAR rating of 0.867w/kg or almost half of the maximum SAR rate approved by the FCC for US mobiles.

Even so, I still get headaches. But that for sure must be job related…

Cheers, Raúl

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