Mobile phones are one of the fastest growing technologies the world over.
With millions of mobile phone users, world wide, attention of health personnel has been directed towards potential health hazards of mobile phones.
These telephones are two way radio transmitters. When someone calls, sound energy is converted to radio frequency waves (electromagnetic energy waves) .
These travel through the atmosphere to the nearest base station, from which they go to the receiver’s end. At the receiving end, they are reconverted to sound energy enabling the person to hear.
The whole body absorption of radio frequency energy varies with the frequency of the signal. The identified whole body threshold level of exposure in terms of absorption by human body (SAR i.e. specific absorption rate) is 4 watts per kilogram.
Minute electric currents exist in the body due to ongoing chemical reactions. Many of the body processes from digestion to brain functions are carried out due to realignment of charged particles.
Low frequency electromagnetic waves influence the distribution of electric charges in the body also and heating is the main biological effect of these waves. The heating effect of these radio waves forms the underlying basis for current safety guide lines.
Tissue damage in humans can occur due to the thermal effects of these waves. It can also cause increase in body temperature.
Testes and eyes have been found to be particularly vulnerable. Changes in sperm count and altered sperm motility could occur due to chronic exposure to radiation waves.
Studies have linked brain tumors to mobile phones, since head region is most affected by mobile phone usage. Factors such as high daily usage and regular use for a long time, i.e. more than 10 years have been found to increase the risk of brain tumors.
Some persons experience non specific symptoms like fatigue, tiredness, concentration problems, dizziness, palpitations, e.t.c. due to exposure to electric or magnetic fields.
But the role of mobiles is difficult to evaluate because there are many factors responsible for these symptoms. Recently a phenomenon called, “ring tone anxiety”, or, “ringxiety “has been described by psychiatrists. In this users imagine their mobiles to be ringing when in fact it is not ringing.
Mobile phones interfere with the functioning of pace makers (artificial devices used for regulating cardiac rhythm) implanted in hearts.
A study from Austria observed that people living close to mobile telephone base stations were also exposed to emitted radio waves.
Ill effects on well being and performance of these people were not ruled out.
Mobile hand sets are also carriers of various kinds of germs.
They are handled many times but not cleaned. Nobody washes his or her hands before or after handling a mobile phone. Thus they become a potential source for transmitting infections, particularly in hospitalized sick people.
Mobile phones like other modern tools of communication and information technology are contributing to physical inactivity and thus obesity particularly in adolescents and teenagers.
It is well known that talking on mobile hand sets while driving cars or bikes has increased risk of road accidents.
Mobile phones have come and will stay, but some steps can be taken to make their use safer.
Keeping the, “talk time”, to minimum on mobile phones would automatically reduce the exposure to radio waves. Keeping some distance between head and the handset, would also reduce the risk.
Most mobile phone providers give information about the SAR values on the batteries of these phones. Further information can be obtained from their web sites.
People with implanted heart pace makers should be more careful while using mobile phones.
Further long term studies would be needed to establish the prevalence of health hazards of mobile phones. But several studies have shown that they are not free from health hazards on long term use.
E-mail – email@example.com