Could Your Next Phone Call Be Your Last?

by Dylan Chung on March 27, 2014

images (1)Winds, sounds and scents are all things which we’ve all felt or experienced but have never seen. They’re all around us everywhere we go however we cannot see them. In today’s society not only are we surrounded by winds, sounds and scents but we’re now constantly exposed to radio waves, microwaves, ultra violet waves and other types of electro-magnetic waves. Sure we also can’t actually see any of these things, but does this by any means imply that they’re all safe? The answer in many situations would be no. The current generation is characterized by smartphones, ipods, ipads and countless other forms of technology. Among these, the cell phone is thought to be the most quickly adopted consumer technological product. It’s currently thought that nearly 90% of American adults own a cellular phone. In fact nearly 40% of households are currently “cell-phone only” homes who do not use a landline phone anymore.

It’s estimated that young adults (ages 18-24) send up to one hundred text messages a day, and make at least twelve phone calls a day.  A recent topic of discussion in the science and health community has been whether or not the electromagnetic waves emitted from these devices might have an impact on the health people and animals who are exposed to them. Mobile devices emit radiofrequency energy which is a type of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation. This type of radiation can be absorbed by the tissues of the body which are closest to where the phones are being held or kept. Over exposure to ionizing electromagnetic radiation such as x-rays or cosmic rays has been proven to increase risks of particular cancers. Currently there is not enough evidence to tie non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation to an increased risk of cancer or health defects. Nevertheless, many studies have been conducted to assure that these electromagnetic rays are not harmful to us.

If non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation hasn’t proven to be harmful to us, why is it still such a concern to us? The reason is that every day, the level of cell phone usage is constantly increasing and changing. Sure there may have been a number of studies conducted which resulted in not enough evidence to deem it dangerous however with the drastic increase in the amount of such radiation in environment, it is definitely a topic which we shouldn’t ignore. Many professional organizations still conclude that further research is necessary because there is still suspicion of possible adverse effects. The American Cancer Society  (ACS) states that there could be some risk associated with cancer, but the evidence is not strong enough to be considered causal and needs to be investigated further. In the meantime many cohort studies are being conducted to study the relationship between cell phones and health.

At the end of the day is there any evidence that cell phones are dangerous to our health? The answer is no there is not sufficient evidence to say so. However for skeptics, there are a few different ways which one might decrease their exposure to electromagnetic radiation. One would be to invest in hands-free technology such as ear pieces to increase the distance between phones and one’s brain. Another method would simply be to reduce the amount of cell phone usage to a minimum. This means instead of sending multiple one word text messages, try to send all your thoughts in a single message or make a quick phone call. Ultimately, as far as science has found, cellphones and the radiation emitted from their use is not dangerous to our health but keep in mind that just because you cannot see something, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

 

Sources:

Cell Phones and Cancer Risk – National Cancer Institute. (2013, June 24). Nation Cancer Institute. Retrieved February 24, 2014, from http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/cellphones

 

Rainie, L. (2013, June 6). Cell phone ownership hits 91% of adults | Pew Research Center. Fact Tank. Research News. Retrieved February 23, 2014, from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/06/06/cell-phone-ownership-hits-91-of-adults/

 

Smith, A. (2011, September 19). Americans and text messaging| Pew Research Center. Fact Tank. Research News. Retrieved February 23, 2014, from http://www.pewinternet.org/2011/09/19/americans-and-text-messaging/

 


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