10 Reasons Cell Phones Might Not Be Safe
If you are like most people, you likely don’t let your cell phone get too far away from you, and it is probably always within reach. The question here is, of course, is are these phones really safe? There are billions of people who use cell phones, and right now, both scientists and governments around the world are trying to get the answer to this question through research and testing. Their results? At this point, these studies show that it might be a good idea to limit exposure to the radiation that comes from these phones. In other words, it’s better to be safe, rather than sorry.
If you have a cell phone, you can cut down on the possible radiation exposure by only using your phone when you have a strong signal. You can also reduce the radiation by keeping some distance between your ear and the phone.
Cell phones work by changing the sound that comes from your throat into a radio wave. These waves are then sent out through the antenna of the phone. The antenna is also used to receive the radio waves from other sources, i.e. the phone of the person you are speaking to. It changes the radio waves to sound wave, and then pump them through the speaker.
The problem is that these waves are a type of radiation, which can possibly be absorbed into your head as you speak. Obviously, radiation going into your head can be problematic, and it can be a big safety issue. This is not the only safety issue associated with cell phone use, and here are the top 10 reasons cell phones might not be safe:
10. There May be a Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Cancer
The same radiation that comes out of cell phones also comes from microwave ovens and radios with AM/FM dials. There is no doubt that high doses of this radiation causes cancer, but since this is a lower dose, scientists are not yet sure how much it will take to cause the same effect, and less is known about what the risks of this low dose radiation might be.
There have been a number of studies on the health risks of using a cell phone, and there are mixed results. However, some of these studies show a definite risk, and medical experts say that people should never assume that a risk does not exist. Cell phones have only been widely available for the past 10-15 years, but it can take a tumor 20 years or more to really develop and form.
Since cell phones have only been around for about half the time it takes for a brain tumor to form, scientists have been unable to fully assess the long-term effects of cell phone use, or look at how this radiation can affect the growth of children. Most of the studies that are out right now have only focused on a three to five year time frame, which might not be enough to truly see how cell phone radiation can affect us. The studies that have looked at cell phone use for people who use their phones for at least an hour a day for 10 years show that there is a significant increase in the chances of developing a tumor in the brain.
9. The International Agency for Research on Cancer Classifies Cell Phones as a Possible Carcinogen
The International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, has classified cell phone use as a possible carcinogen. This should be enough of a wake up call for us to pay attention.
The IARC has recommended a continued monitoring of brain cancer trends in both laboratory animals and humans. In particular, the agency suggests that it is extremely important to assess the long-term use of cell phones on everyone, and especially for younger users who have been using them longer than many adults. The agency also recommends that users take action to reduce all exposure to cell phones, including texting and using hands-fee devices.
Interphone, which is the major study that has been done on cell phone use and the risk of cancer, has shown that there is no greater risk of developing the most common forms of cancer of the brain. Instead, it is the rarer forms of brain cancer that tend to develop with cell phone use. In addition, the study showed that there is no increased risk when increasing the call time, number of calls or the years since the cell phone use began. However, there was a small proportion of participants in the study who spent more time than others on their cell phones, and these people had an increased risk of developing glioma, a common brain cancer.
So, when you look at all of the results of the study, you can conclude that it found no increased risk of common brain cancers, but it’s the rare ones, those that are possibly more difficult to treat, that may have an increased risk with cell phone use.
8. Cell Phone Radiation May Also Damage DNA
In addition to causing cancer, there is also information that the radiation from cell phones can damage DNA. This comes from a study done by the European Union, called the Reflex study.
This study, which was done by 12 research groups in seven EU countries, did not totally prove that cell phone risk is hazardous to a person’s health, but did conclude that more research is necessary to see if there is a risk outside of the conditions that are present in a lab.
The cell phone industry denies that mobile phones cause harm to users, and more than 4 billion people use mobile phones throughout the world. This particular study lasted for four years, and looked at the effects of cell phone radiation on both animal and human cells. The big problem that this study discovered is the DNA damage that occurred in these cells. When the cells were exposed to the same radiation that a typical cell phone user experiences, and then examined, the researchers found that there was a significant increase in the breaks of both single and double strand DNA. In most cases, the cell would repair this, but in this case, the cell could not always repair the damage. These cells are now mutated, and researchers have determined that these cells with mutated DNA may cause cancer.
7. Cell Phones May Be Damaging Sperm
If you are a man who is interested in ever fathering a child in the future, you could be lowering your chances of conceiving if you are using a cell phone. This finding, which comes from study results released in February, 2016, show that men who keep a cell phone close to their testicles, such as in a pocket, or even within a couple of feet of the body, can develop a sperm count that is so low, it can be difficult to conceive.
This study, which was done by fertility specialists, found that the sperm levels in 47 percent of men who had their phones in their pockets during the day had a serious affect on their sperm count. When you compare this with the general population, only 11 percent of men have a low sperm count.
Throughout this study, the researchers looked at the number of active sperm cells, as well as the quality of the sperm. They found that men who had their phones near their groin, even if the phone was only on the bedside table, had a lower number of active sperm cells. In addition, those that were active were of lower quality.
This study confirms the long-feared link between the dropping rates of fertility in men with the use of cell phones. This has been a fear for many years, as research has shown that the quality of the sperm among men in Europe, the US and other Western countries have been decreasing. In fact, this has been the main reason for infertility in approximately 40 percent of all cases when couples have difficulty with conceiving.
6. Cell Phone Radiation May Affect Babies in Utero
The guys are not the only ones who might be affected by cell phone radiation, women who are pregnant might want to stay away from cell phones, too, and keep cell phone exposure to a minimum. There have been a number of studies on cell phone radiation and the affect on pregnancy. In these studies, mice were used, as it is difficult for this type of experiment to be done on humans.
In the lab, the team took 42 pregnant mice and exposed them to a silenced and muted cell phone that was on and receiving a signal. They took another group of 42 mice and exposed them to a cell phone that was off and not receiving a signal. Otherwise, the mice had an identical environment and feeding schedule. All of the pregnant mice were exposed to the phones throughout their pregnancy, and when the babies were adults, they were tested in a number of ways.
First, it was found that the mice that had been exposed to the active cell phone had a decreased memory, and they were more likely to have hyperactivity issues when compared to the other mice. Additionally, the exposed mice had different activity in their brains, which is comparable to children who have been diagnosed with ADHD or ADD.
However, it was also found that short exposure was similar to no exposure, so limiting the exposure instead of totally avoiding exposure, could help to protect the unborn baby.
5. Cell Phones May Mess With Pacemakers
If you wear a pacemaker, you may also find that it is unsafe to use a cell phone. The radiofrequency energy from a cell phone may negatively interact with the pacemaker. This is called electromagnetic interference, and in some cases, it can cause the pacemaker to stop working.
The FDA has helped to develop a test to measure the EMI of the cardiac pacemaker from a cell phone. This is now a standard that has been adopted by the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation. With this in place, manufacturers can use this to ensure the devices are safe from the EMI.
Though this is the case with new pacemakers, if you have an older one, you still may be in danger when using a cell phone. If you have a pacemaker, EMI could affect it by stopping the electrical pulses that regulate the rhythm of the heart. The interference may also cause the pacemaker to work irregularly or to ignore the natural rhythm of the heart.
The good news is, this doesn’t pose a significant threat to most pacemaker wearers, but you should still take precautions just in case. For instance, you should hold the phone to the opposite ear from where the pacemaker is implanted, and you should avoid placing a cell phone next to the pacemaker, such as in a shirt or jacket pocket.
4. Cell Phone Radiation May Affect a Child’s Brain Development
There is also a strong possibility that cell phone radiation may affect the development of a child’s brain. A study was done and published in the Journal of Microscopy and Ultrastructure that indicates children have a higher health risk than adults when it comes to the affect of cell phone radiation.
The researchers looked at cell phone exposure studies for a 5-year period from 2009 to 2014 in addition to government documents, radiation data and cell phone manufacturer’s manuals. What they found is that children have a greater risk of damage from cell phones than adults do. Why? Because the absorption of the radiation is higher in children because they have thinner skulls, and they are smaller in size.
This is not the only study that shows this possibility, however. There have actually been a number of studies that show a child will absorb more cell phone radiation than an adult. One such study found that the brain tissue of children absorbed two times more radiation than adults. Other studies have shown that the bone marrow of children will absorb approximately 10 times more radiation from cell phones than adults.
To limit the exposure that children have to cell phone radiation, it is best to limit cell phone use. Even if the cell phone is near the child, such as on a bedside table, it can still affect the child.
3. No One Has Determined that Cell Phones are Safe
Another reason that cell phones might not be safe for us? Well, no one has ever proven that they are actually safe for us. There have been many studies on cell phones and safety, and out of all these studies, there has not been one that has concluded that they are 100 percent safe for us. Even in cases where a medical professional makes a claim that there are no radiation dangers associated with cell phone use, there is still the fact that cell phones can be a driving distraction, which of course, is not safe.
The truth is, if cell phones played a small, inconspicuous role in society, there would likely not be a debate about their safety. However, since there are well over a billion cell phones in the world, and most people use them throughout the day, it is important that we understand how safe, or unsafe, these devices are.
There have even been cities across the country, such as Berkeley, CA, that are attempting to force cell phone manufacturers to put a warning label on the boxes of these devices, similar to the warning labels of cigarettes and alcohol. The city of Berkeley is not the only one to ask for these labels; there have also been a number of consumer groups and medical organizations that have also made the push.
What does this tell us? There is certainly enough concern out there to show that there is a valid reason to question the safety of cell phones.
2. Cell Phone Use May Damage Your Skin
In addition to danger to your general health and the possibility of developing cancer, cell phone use may also cause damage to your skin. Each time you text or talk on your phone, you put your skin at risk. Some of the negative affects your skin might experience include wrinkles, acne and darks spots.
You might develop wrinkles if you stare down at the keyboard of a cell phone for too long, as this can cause the skin to come together around the neck and chin. Additionally, many people squint when using a cell phone, which can lead to crow’s feet around the eyes. Cell phone use can also cause acne, and there have been studies that show there are more bacteria on a cell phone than on the handle of a toilet seat. All of this bacteria transfers to your skin when you talk, and this is the perfect breeding ground for acne.
Finally, you may find that talking on a cell phone can cause your skin to overheat, and this can cause dark spots. The phone is exuding a lot of energy, and this energy turns to heat. The heat can cause major damage to the skin, and it might cause a lapse in melanin production. This, can cause discoloration and dark areas.
When using a cell phone, try to use speakerphone or Bluetooth if possible, wipe the surface with an anti-bacterial wipe, and if you find yourself squinting, try to adjust the font size on the phone or consider a trip to the eye doctor for a vision check.
1. Cell Phones Cause Distracted Driving
Approximately 1 in 4 car crashes involve the use of cell phones. There are a number of distractions when you drive, but the cell phone is the top distraction of any. If you look at other drivers, you will likely see that many are distracted by a phone. They might be driving too slowly, they might be swerving, or even more dangerously, they might drive through stop signs or red lights.
Keep in mind, even though some states allow drivers to use hands-free technology, this still doesn’t mean it is safe to drive when speaking. Most drivers honestly believe that they are being safe by using a hands-free device, but even though you keep your hands on the wheel, your brain will remain distracted by the conversation.
The statistics associated with distracted driving are frightening. In 2014, for instance, more than 3,100 people died in car accidents due to being distracted by cell phones, and more than 400,000 people have been involved in car accidents caused by a distracted driver. Additionally, the average time a person has their eyes off the wheel when using a cell phone is about 5 seconds. When going 55 MPH, you would travel the length of a football field. Finally, approximately 10 percent of drivers aged 15 to 19 involved in fatal car accidents were distracted when the accident occurred.
Most of us do not consider our cell phones to be dangerous, but the truth is, they certainly could be. Whether you are concerned about the affects on your skin, DNA, brain or even developing cancer, there is a lot of support that cell phone radiation could be behind it.
Though there is nothing that says cell phone radiation definitively causes cancer, cellular damage, or skin issues, there is a lot of support and evidence that say they are responsible for most cases of distracted driving.
In order to keep you and your family safe, experts recommend that people limit their cell phone use, and even their cell phone handling. Taking care to avoid placing a cell phone near the reproductive organs and the head is also highly recommended. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
When it comes to the dangers of cell phones and driving, this is totally avoidable, and it is quite easy to avoid it. Simply do not use a cell phone when driving. Phone calls and text messages can wait until you are safely pulled over and stopped.