Health-related concerns over the hazards of mobile phone usage is rapidly growing as large number of scientific studies are being published supporting this issue. WHO has reviewed the available evidence and declared mobile phones’ electro-magnetic radiations as possibly carcinogenic(Group 2B).
Scientific studies have shown that exposure to electromagnetic frequency and radio-frequency radiations may affect brain activity, reaction time, functionality of the ears and eyes, sleep, fertility and behaviour. The signals may also interfere with medical implants like heart pacemakers. It is therefore essential to exercise some precautions,while using mobile phones, to reduce absorption of radiation.
Subscribers can adhere to these measures for safe mobile usage:
- Whenever possible, replace the mobile handsets with safer alternatives such as wired landline or voice over internet protocol programmes (VoiP) like Skype and Gtalk.
- Use desktop computer to access internet services.
- Use a good quality mobile phone with smaller values of Specific Absorption Rate (the rate at which energy is absorbed by the human body). Mobile phones have SAR values ranging from a low of 0.1 to a high of 1.9. Using phones with lower SAR will drastically reduce exposure to radiations.
- Switch off the mobile phone before going to bed and long periods of non-usage.
- Do not carry mobile phone in pockets or bras. Keep the phone in a bag away from the body.
- Make short-duration calls.
- Prefer texting instead of voice call whenever possible.
- Do not use the phone when signal is weak.
- Do not use the handset when battery is low. Keep battery at least half charged.
- Do not keep mobile phone pressed to ears. Hold it as far as possible and prefer to use a wired earphone or speaker function.
- Avoid staring for long time into the mobile phone screen, reading large amount of texts, playing games etc as it dries the eyes leading to eye damage.
- Avoid using mobile phone around other electronics as it increases or focus the radiations on body.
- People wearing pacemaker, sunglasses with metal rims, metal wired bras, tooth filling, knee implants etc should minimise, if not able to avoid completely, the use of mobile phones.
- Open and empty spaces should be preferred to make longer calls.
- Avoid owning multiple mobiles or multiple SIM card based phones.
- Avoid using mobile phone inside moving vehicle as the mobile phone signal intensity changes with distance from base tower and metal body of the vehicle traps the signal, which increases the exposure levels.
- Mobile phone use is banned during driving as it can easily lead to accidents.
- Children have thinner skulls and their brain is metabolically more active than adults which leads to much more serious effects. Hence children should be completely refrained from mobile phone use. Further, as children are likely to use mobile phones for longer time, lifetime cumulative absorption of radiations will be much higher, which can lead to serious health effects during older age.
- Mobile phone signals can produce adverse biological effects on the developing child in the womb of pregnant women; hence it should be avoided during pregnancy.
Rtn Dr Madhukar has authored the book Mobile Phone Safety. He is a member of the 150 scientists’ collaboration from across the world, who has signed the International Scientist Appeal on setting stringent radiation safety measures, which will be delivered to the United Nations and the World Health Organisation. He is member of Rotary Kushalnagar, RI District 3180. He may be contacted at: +91-9743059668. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.