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Does mobile phone radiation harm you?

Since the 1970’s, there have been questions about the risks of using mobile phones and that  the radiation emitted may cause cancer. Nowadays, if you ask the average person about the dangers of mobile phone use, you often hear, “they may harm you, but I don’t know why….. I heard it on the radio… they cause cancer”

WiFi networks, power cables and mobile phones  all emit radiation. The word radiation can make one think of  Fukushima, Hiroshima, fallout, atomic bombs etc..  But there is a huge difference between the electromagnetic radiation from a mobile phone and that of X-ray radiation in a hospital. The diagram below shows the radiation strengths between different types of technologies.

  • Non-ionizing radiation:  Any type of electromagnetic radiation that does not carry enough energy per quantum to ionize atoms or molecules.
  • Ionizing radiation: Radiation consisting of particles, X-rays, or gamma rays with sufficient energy to cause ionization in the medium through which it passes.  Exposure to ionizing radiation causes damage to living tissue, and can result in mutation, radiation sickness, and even cancer.

Nailing down the figures – its all about the power of the radiation.

Mobile phones come under the “Non-ionizing radiation” category (1-2GHz). The radiation emitted is extremely low,  not enough to break the molecular bonds from inside the human cell.

However, UV, Gamma and X-ray radiation is strong, and will break the bonds inside your cells, including your DNA molecules, causing them to mutate while replicating. (Ionizing radiation)

UV rays, X rays and Gamma rays all have energies larger than 480 kilo-Joules/mole. Mobile phones on the other hand, emit less than 0.001 kilo-Joule/mole. This is an order of magnitude 480,000 times less than UV-Rays.

“You would receive more radiation from the sun on a beach in Spain for one day then if you were to hug a mobile phone transmission tower for one year.”

-James Browne RF Engineering Stelladoradus

and that’s a massive transmission tower. We are not even talking about a phone here. That’s how tiny the energies are.

The distance from the transmitting source(the phone) to the person is important

So, we now understand that the power emitted from a mobile phone is tiny. A question still remains however, as to whether long periods of time with a mobile phone right up to your head (or groin)  is dangerous. Different fields of research state different things.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer recently stated that non-ionizing radiation could cause cancer in humans, whereas, in 2006, a large Danish group’s study about the connection between mobile phone use and cancer incidence was published. It followed over 420,000 Danish citizens for 20 years and showed no increased risk of cancer at all!

So who can you believe? Well, the answer is there is no definite answer. Not enough time has passed to understand the true effects of radiation close to your head.

In the meantime what can you do to minimise any risk?


Above: The power of the radiation decreases by the square of the distance

You can do two things:

1) Move the phone away from you as you speak.  The power of the transmitting source decreases by the square of the distance. This means that if you move the phone 3m from you, you reduce  the power by a factor of 9. If you move it 4m, the power is 16 times less. However, is this solution really practical? I don’t fancy holding my phone at arms length while I take a call.

2) Reduce the power of the phone. Yes, this is possible.

Phones work by boosting their signal output when the signal in the area is weak. In an underground tunnel for example where there is no signal, your phone will be pumping out the power to try to find a connection. A mobile phone repeater in your home ensures that there is full signal in the house. This means that your phone can reduce its radiation power and still connect to the network. Consequently, you receive less radiation up close to your head. This is a preferable solution.

So to sum up this article. There is no conclusive proof to date that the radiation emitted from your mobile phone is harmful. But to be on the super safe side, you can reduce any possible risk by installing a repeater in your home, which will not only give you great signal, but will also reduce the radiation power of your phone.

And hey, Your battery will last longer too!

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