Does the use of cell phones increase the risk of cancer? Even if scientists are divided about it, here are some suggestions that could minimise the radiation.
Radiation is a loaded word that conjures up unreasonable fear. So let's be clear about what we're talking about. Your cell phone is a tiny transceiver — a combination transmitter and receiver. Power is radiated when you use it. But it's not the same kind of radiation produced by nuclear reactions and X-rays. That's the far more dangerous type called ionising radiation.
Cell phones produce less harmful non-ionising radiation. However, as exposure time and power level increases, non-ionizing radiation is a hazard too. The real argument is over how much non-ionising radiation is too much. To be clear, there is no proof that using your cell phone will increase your chances of getting cancer. But several scientists believe there is a correlation between heavy cell phone use and cancer.
Here are some ways to reduce the amount of radiation you get from cell phones. Even if some final study says there is no danger, there's no risk in following these tips.
So let's start with the fact that not all cell phones are created equal. Some produce more radiation than others. Use a low radiation phone. Next, consider spending less time on your cell phone. When you know the conversation will be a long one, use a wired phone. But some people don't even have a regular wired phone. That means exposure to cell phone radiation is a bigger deal than when cell phones weren't as common. So let's talk about ways regular cell phone users can reduce the risk a bit.
The closer your cell phone is to your body, the more radiation you get. Even holding a phone two inches from your ear dramatically reduces the amount of radiation zapping your brain.
You'd think clipping your phone to your belt and using a hands-free earpiece and microphone would be a no-brainer next step. But it isn't. Wired earpieces can serve as an antenna that actually concentrates the radiation that your brain receives. And many wireless earpieces are just tiny transmitter/receivers that produce their own radiation.
The safest way to use a cell phone is to hold it away from your body and use the speakerphone setting. Almost everyone agrees that radiation exposure in that mode is minimal.
Many may not routinely use the speakerphone setting. It eliminates privacy and isn't practical in many situations. But there is still a way to reduce radiation, even when you must hold the cell next to your ear. Simply shift the phone from one ear to the other at regular intervals. That means you aren't concentrating all that radiation on one side of your head.
The last tip involves those bars displayed on the cell phone screen. The bars indicate the strength of the signal. Cell phones are most dangerous when the signal is very weak. Here's why: In weak signal areas the cell phone cranks up its power automatically in an attempt to compensate. So you are exposed to more radiation during times like that.
Adopt as many of these tips as you can. Even if the radiation fears prove groundless, your stress levels and mental health are bound to improve by spending less time on the cell phone.
NYT News Service
Source:The Hindu, Metroplus dt. 22nd July 2010