Friday, July 25, 2008

Warning on the Massive Use of Handphones

While everybody is so crazy about iPhone, there are some warning signs...

We call it handphone, some call it cellphone. Whatever you call it, it has changed our life.

In a few decades time, the users of handphones are exponentially increased. Somehow, nobody seems to care about handphone do generate electromagnetic field.

Although the biological effect of long term exposure to the electromagnetic field is not established yet, but we need to beware of its potential harmful risk.

Dr. Ronald Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute recently declared that electromagnetic fields emitted by handphone should be considered a potential human health risk.

Children are particularly at risk because their brains are still developing.


Well, surely, there will be people who oppose it, like the American Cancer Society. They said that Herberman's warning was too strong, given the lack of scientific evidence, and that if there is a risk, it is very small.

The warning was based on a few points:
  • Electromagnetic fields from cell phones are estimated to penetrate the brain especially in children.
Estimation of the penetration of electromagnetic radiation from a cell phone based on age (Frequency GSM 900 Mhz)

  • Living tissue is vulnerable to electromagnetic fields within the frequency bands used by cell phones (from 800 to 2200 MHz), notably an increase in the permeability of the blood-brain barrier and an increased synthesis of stress proteins.
  • The most recent studies, which include subjects with a history of handphone usage for a duration of at least 10 years, show a possible association between certain benign tumors and some brain cancers on the side the device is use.
Well, you may say that human epidemiological studies on handphones conducted to date cannot be conclusive. To tell you the truth, even the studies about exposure of tobacco and lung cancer under similar study condition were not established, and it would be difficult to identify an increased risk of cancer, as the risk appears mostly 15 to 35 years later.

And yet, we can say out loud and proud that smoking cause cancers!

But why? When we touch on handphone MAY cause cancers, all suddenly keep quiet, and claim that the warning is too strong?

Is it because our perception towards tobacco and handphones are different?

Everybody use handphones everyday, or perhaps, every hour. But tobacco is only for those people without health conscious, the minority. So, handphone is safe, and tobacco is dangerous.

Please remember that when tobacco first introduced (God knows how long ago), nobody linked it with lung cancers.


So, should we not aware of the potential harmful risk of the usage of handphone?

We do not exactly know how harmful is the handphone, at the same time, we do not how safe the handphone is, too.

We shouldn't wait for a definitive study to come out, but it is better being safe rather than sorry later

There are some practical advice to limit exposure to electromagnetic radiation emitted from handphones:
  1. Do not allow children to use a cell phone, except for emergencies. The developing organs of a fetus or child are the most likely to be sensitive to any possible effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields.
  2. While communicating using your cell phone, try to keep the cell phone away from the body as much as possible. The amplitude of the electromagnetic field is one fourth the strength at a distance of two inches and fifty times lower at three feet. Whenever possible, use the speaker-phone mode or a wireless Bluetooth headset, which has less than 1/100th of the electromagnetic emission of a normal cell phone. Use of a hands-free ear piece attachment may also reduce exposures.
  3. Avoid using your cell phone in places, like a bus, where you can passively expose others to your phone's electromagnetic fields.
  4. Avoid carrying your cell phone on your body at all times. Do not keep it near your body at night such as under the pillow or on a bedside table, particularly if pregnant. You can also put it on “flight” or “off-line” mode, which stops electromagnetic emissions.
  5. If you must carry your cell phone on you, make sure that the keypad is positioned toward your body and the back is positioned toward the outside so that the transmitted electromagnetic fields move away from your rather than through you.
  6. Only use your cell phone to establish contact or for conversations lasting a few minutes, as the biological effects are directly related to the duration of exposure.
    For longer conversations, use a land line with a corded phone, not a cordless phone, which uses electromagnetic emitting technology similar to that of cell phones.
  7. Switch sides regularly while communicating on your cell phone to spread out your exposure. Before putting your cell phone to the ear, wait until your correspondent has picked up. This limits the power of the electromagnetic field emitted near your ear and the duration of your exposure.
  8. Avoid using your cell phone when the signal is weak or when moving at high speed, such as in a car or train, as this automatically increases power to a maximum as the phone repeatedly attempts to connect to a new relay antenna.
  9. When possible, communicate via text messaging rather than making a call, limiting the duration of exposure and the proximity to the body.
  10. Choose a device with the lowest SAR possible (SAR = Specific Absorption Rate, which is a measure of the strength of the magnetic field absorbed by the body). SAR ratings of contemporary phones by different manufacturers are available by searching for “sar ratings cell phones” on the internet.

We do not need to ban this technology, but to adapt it, so that it never becomes a major cause of illness.

1 comment:

斌份世界 said...

first come acroos ur blog, good job senior, respect!