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Thread: Is your mobile phone damaging your health?Article Including 2 CaseStudies

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    Unhappy Is your mobile phone damaging your health?Article Including 2 CaseStudies

    Is your mobile phone damaging your health?

    Colin Blakemore is Professor of Physiology at Oxford University and a member of the Stewart Committee, the Management Committee of the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme.

    Here, the world expert on mobile phone radiation examines the risks we run in using them.

    Read the case studies of two people who believe mobile phones damaged their health - and have the evidence to prove it - by clicking the link at the bottom of the page.

    Scores of people in Britain have been killed through using their mobile phones. That is a fact - not disputed by any scientist.

    But they did not have cancer, epilepsy, a heart attack or any of the other horrors that some say are caused by mobiles.

    They died because they used their phones while driving - presumably due to the distracting effect of talking to someone who isn't in the car.

    Risk is a funny business. Just compare our attitudes to GM foods and mobile phones. To my knowledge, apart from the indirect effect on car accidents, no one has died as a result of exposure to either of these new technologies.

    For both of them, there is some scientific uncertainty but no clear risk to human beings.

    Yet, three- quarters of the British public are opposed to GM foods, while almost as many people own and use a mobile phone. Why do we reject one technology and eagerly embrace the other?

    I think it depends on how much benefit we expect to get. Only 18 pc of Britons believe that the potential benefits of GM foods outweigh the risks. But mobile phones are so useful that people put the possible risks out of their minds.

    I was a member of the Stewart Committee which, two years ago, evaluated all the available research and wrote a weighty report about mobile phones.

    We held public meetings around the country and people came in droves to protest about base stations - the masts that are essential for communication from one phone to another. But, to our amazement, there were few complaints about phones themselves.

    But apart from the fact that masts radiate continuously, there is no reason to think that they could be more dangerous than phones.

    The beam from a mast is like a searchlight pointing outwards, typically reaching the ground 100 yards away or more. Since its intensity decreases rapidly with distance, the maximum exposure at ground level is hundreds or thousands of times lower than that from a mobile phone.

    But people choose to use their phones: they don't usually choose to have a mast at the end of the garden or on top of the local church.

    Personal choice plays a big part in our perception of risk. That's why the Stewart Report recommended full planning permission for mast installations, and labelling of phones to show their power. That's why we suggested that 'safety' devices (hands-free kits and shields) should be officially tested and certified.

    It is up to the Government to implement those recommendations. They said they would do them all. So far, they have recommended that children under 16 should not use mobiles, and said there should be a review of all the evidence in three years (which will be next year) - so they have done some of the things we asked.

    But what about phones themselves? Are they harmful or not?

    That bogey word ' radiation' conjures up images of nuclear fallout and cancer- causing X-rays. But the radiation produced by mobiles is more like sunlight - except that the electromagnetic vibrations from mobiles are of lower frequency and inherently less powerful.

    On a hot day, the energy in the sunlight striking your head is higher than that from a mobile.

    According to most physicists, the only effect that phone radiation should have on the body is to warm it slightly, and the safety exposure limits are set to protect people from being over-heated.

    After about six minutes, a mobile phone warms the closest part of the brain by only onetenth of a degree Centigrade - and it doesn't get hotter. That's far less than the natural variation in brain temperature throughout the day.

    If it is just a question of the brain heating up, then there is no problem because there is no adverse effect from that. What is unknown is whether there are other effects at the same time as the heating, and whether they could cause longterm cumulative problems.

    The Stewart Report, like several others from expert groups around the world, concluded that there was no certain evidence of risk to human health from any of these 'non-thermal' effects.

    But, in view of the huge numbers of mobile phone users and the general uncertainty about the scientific evidence, we recommended a 'precautionary' approach. Give the public more information, discourage young children from excessive use, and - most important - do more research.

    The UK Government, jointly with the phone industry, has established a research fund of more than 7 million. The results of that work should start coming through next year.

    And there is growing research activity all around the world. Last week, Dr Dariusz Leszczynski and his colleagues from the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority reported that low-level phone radiation can cause 'stress' reactions in cells isolated from human blood vessels.

    They argued that this might cause leakiness of the so-called 'blood-brain barrier' - the protective tissue around the brain - allowing toxic substances to enter the brain.

    It might even cause cancer. But it's a big leap from the test tube to the hospital bed.

    In 1990, there were 500,000 mobile phone users in Britain: now there are 40 million. Yet there has been no detectable overall rise in brain cancers.

    By the end of this year, there will be more than a billion mobile phones in the world. If the trend continues, half the world's population will have a mobile by the end of this decade.

    How will we view mobile phones then? As a technological miracle that has enriched our lives? Or, like cigarettes and BSE, a hazard that we didn't anticipate? Only time - and more research - will tell.

    Meanwhile, we need to be open, balanced and sensible. There is no need for hysteria, but, equally, people don't want the kind of bland reassurances they were given about BSE.

    Scientists and the Government have to be honest enough to say that we just don't know.

    Q: Will using a hands-free device mean that my mobile phone is safe?

    A: All mobiles emit low levels of radiation. Just because you do not have a phone pressed to your ear does not mean that other parts of your body will not be exposed to these emissions.

    You should always try to keep it away from the body if possible. However, most experts agree that hands-free sets are a good idea if used correctly.
    Q: I've seen radiation shields advertised, but the idea of them is like something from a sci-fi film. Do they work?

    A: Some shields have been shown to reduce radiation absorption in tests, but it must be stressed that no single product will make a mobile phone entirely free from emissions. The key thing is to use your mobile sparingly and sensibly.
    Q: I try to keep my calls short, because I've heard that long conversations are unhealthy. Am I doing the right thing?

    A: The longer you spend using your mobile, the more you are exposed to potentially harmful emissions.

    However, making lots of shorter calls instead of a few longer ones may do you more harm in the long run, because there is a surge of radiation from your phone every time you dial a new number.

    Wait until the call has connected before bringing it to your ear if possible.
    Q: A friend told me that my glasses and fillings increase the danger from my mobile. Was he joking?
    A: If you wear metal-rimmed glasses, this can increase radiation levels around the eye by up to 20 pc. If you have a lot of fillings, these would have a similar effect.The same goes for earrings. However, the jury is still out on what the health consequences might be.
    Q: I'm pregnant. Should I be using my mobile at all?
    A: Some scientists believe that absorbing radiation through the torso may affect a developing human embryo, so it's probably wise not to keep a mobile phone in a pocket, or hold it near your unborn child.
    Q: Do different makes and models of phones emit more or less radiation?

    A: Yes. Mobile phones are assessed for their 'specific absorption rate' or SAR, and these vary widely between makes and models.
    Sources: Department of Health; Les Wilson of Microshield; BBC.


    Mobile phone case studies


    Nicola Dexter, 39, is a hypnotherapist from Camden, North London. She believes that her mobile phone caused her nose to bleed every time she used it for five minutes or more.

    She says: I have had mobile phones for years and never had any problems with them. I didn't pay much attention to the fact that using them always seemed to make my head hot.

    I work from home and use the phone a lot. So at the beginning of this year I set up my landline to divert to my mobile if it was engaged.

    The immediate result was that I doubled the amount of time I spent on my mobile.

    Then I noticed that my nose would fill with blood. I have never had nosebleeds before, and at first I didn't connect it with the mobile.

    My GP suggested I have the inside of my nose cauterised, but I thought that was just treating the symptom and not the cause, so I decided against it.

    Then I went to a holistic living festival through my job and I noticed that people were selling shields to protect them from the radiation given off by mobile phones.

    I did some research and discovered that other people had also had nosebleeds when they used their mobiles.

    So I bought a radiation shield and took the divert off my landline. Within a week the bleeding had stopped. I also noticed that I slept better when the phone was switched off at night.

    Many of my friends have also suffered from hot heads and headaches. One told me that he keeps his phone in a breast pocket and has started to get chest pains.

    I firmly believe that my nosebleeds were caused by the radiation from the phone, but, like everyone else, I can't live without it. Now, I try not to use it unless I absolutely have to. As a woman who drives around on her own, I feel I have to have a mobile phone with me. I just want to be safe using it.

    Robbie Walford, 39, runs his own flooring company in Chingford, Essex. Although he has recovered, Robbie had to undergo an operation for a brain tumour which he believes was caused by spending too much time on his mobile phone.

    He says: When I set up my business about 15 years ago, I was one of the first people to have a mobile phone. It was great because, as a small businessman just starting out, it allowed me to be contactable all the time and it really helped to develop the company.

    I lived on that phone. It was clamped

    Robbie Walford
    to my ear for about three hours a day. Then, after about five years, I started to suffer from tinnitus, dizziness, and loss of balance and coordination. I went to my GP and he sent me for a scan.
    I will never forget my 30th birthday - April 7, 1993. Among all the birthday cards, I had a letter from the hospital telling me I had a brain tumour.

    It was about the size of the tip of my little finger and was on the acoustic nerve, which connects to the ear. It was operated on successfully a few months later, and I have been clear ever since.

    I was very, very lucky. At the time, I didn't connect the tumour to the mobile phone, although, by coincidence, I bought a hands-free kit afterwards, so although I was still using the phone a lot it wasn't clamped to my ear all the time.

    Six years ago, I went to a seminar where there was a talk on mobile phones and the radiation they give off. I know there's no scientific proof of a link, but I believe it will be proved in the end. You're basically cooking your brain.

    No one can say for sure if it was the mobile phone that caused my tumour - but I'm pretty sure there is a connection.

    My children are always on at me to have mobile phones, but I won't let them at the moment.

    I use my phone a lot less these days and it is hardly ever up by my ear.

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    Wow I've always wanted to be careful and now I think I'm going to be very, VERY careful. Here they promote the usage of mobile phones and do not provide as many land lines as they can so I'm feeling rather distressed. I guess handsfree shall be a good idea...

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    Thumbs down

    Cell is a Hell

    It should be used as a slave in emergency ... instead of becoming a slave to that mobile Master !

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    Default Radiation

    U can see kids calling their cell phone on some other site and they have put popcorn in front. U know what the darn things do pop!

    Has anyone tried to recreate the experience?
    Me before vacation....
    Me after vacation .....

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    Thumbs up Mobile phones can trigger eye damage, fear scientists

    The new study, conducted by the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine at the Israel Institute of Technology, in Haifa, found clear risk to eyesight.

    Scientists exposed lenses taken from male calves - whose eyes, until they are two years old, have close similarities to humans' - to mild heat, comparable to the raised temperature caused by extended mobile phone use, and to microwave radiation no greater than emissions from mobile phones. After two weeks the lenses, kept in a culture medium, were compared with others which had not been similarly exposed, to identify biological changes.

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    A study has shown that radiation from mobile phones may cause a substantial increase in the forces that living cells exert on each other. Experts said this research could be critical to providing answers to the question of whether radiation from mobile phones is linked to cancer and other health problems. Although several researchers believe this to be the case, they have been unable to come up with ways that radiation could produce this affect and harm biological tissue.

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    I've read different articles and researches concluding that radiation from cell phones is harmless for human being. However recently an article mentioned several cases on men losing their hair in the areas around the ear that are in contact with cell phones. After some studies it was found that in some men (specially the ones with high risk of boldness) the Heat caused by the cell phones(Mostly in thin cell phones) battery weakened the hair . I have a SonyEricssonW880i it is really annoying the heat that I start feeling after some minutes speaking, I went to a "SonyEricsson" center and told by battery was damaged, but the one I bought start doing exactly the same !!!! Anyway Thanks for this article!!
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    one time i saw an experiment with a group of mobile phone like in a the middle there was mais...when the phones were actived with the radiation from mobile phone mais trasformed into....a POP CORN!!!

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    Well I have heard a lot about the health hazards of using mobile phones and I believe in it.

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