Are Cell Phones Unhealthy? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/24/05

Are Cell Phones Unhealthy?

Periodically, news stories appear touting the dangers of cell phones. But are they really that bad? Let's take a look at the data.

Cell phones send out the sound of your voice in waves through low power transmitters. The radio waves are made up of electromagnetic radiation. This is what causes concern. Is this radiation powerful enough to do damage to the body, especially the brain and nervous system?

In the past, power lines were thought to cause leukemia in children but no evidence was found to support this fear. Since cell phones emit a certain amount of radiation and are held close to the head, the potential health effects are being debated.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that "available scientific evidence does not demonstrate any adverse health effects." However, many are concerned about the long term harmful effects. They are also worried about excessive use by young children whose brain and nervous systems have not matured.

Studies that have been done on this area have only muddled the issue. Different studies have come to different conclusions. No study has shown conclusive evidence for or against cell phone use. Some show a higher incidence of cancer among users while others show no difference.

Yet the National Radiological Protection Board in England doesn't think cell phones are totally in the clear. Spectrum, an online journal for electrical engineers, recommends that you put some distance between yourself and your cell phone. While the jury is still out on their safety, it is wise to follow a few preventive measures.

Use an external ear piece to keep the phone away from your head. Decrease the time spent on a cell phone, particularly when the signal is weak. To overcome the poor signal, handsets increase power and thus radiation.

Most agencies recommend limiting cell phone use by all children, especially under the age of eight. And that ear piece might be a good gift for any teens with cell phones. The FDA also recommends that people use the phone with the lowest possible amount of radiation.

The maximum level of radiation that may be emitted by the phones and absorbed by the body is called the specific absorption rate or SAR. The SAR must be less than 1.6 watts per kilogram. This is required by the Federal Communications Committee (FCC).

The SAR can be found on all phone labels and at the following web site:click here 

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