Cell Phone Radiation – Should You Be Worried?

There are many devices that emit electromagnetic radiation but it is cell phone radiation that has many people worried and asking questions about the long term safety and use of  mobile/cell phones.

Are these concerns based on fact or just wild theories that have no scientific grounding? First of all, lets get a better understanding of radiation and where it fits in the bigger picture of our lives in modern society, full of electrical and now more and more, wireless devices.

Understanding Radiation – Two Main Types

There are two main types of radiation, it is the second, non-ionizing radiation that has long thought to be safe for humans, but may in fact be the cause of varied health issues.

  • Ionizing radiation – like that used in X-rays.  Ionizing radiation produces enough electromagnetic energy to cause chemical reactions and changes to atoms in the body. It is known to be unsafe which is why we are given a lead shield when having x-rays taken.
  • Non-ionizing radiation – includes radio frequencies, light and microwave frequencies. They cause a heating effect, but not enough to change tissue in the body like ionizing radiation does.

Within non-ionizing radiation, there are two further categories;

Two Types of EMF Radiation

The two main types of electromagnetic frequency or EMF (both produce non-ionizing radiation) are;

  1. ELF  Extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields – from overhead powerlines and electrical devices around the home, which we are all exposed to
  2. RFR Radio frequency radiation – from wireless devices, cell/mobile phones, PDAs pagers, phone towers and broadcast transmission towers

High levels of radio frequency radiation can heat human tissue, which does not demonstrate immediate effects but could be a risk after long-term exposure. More about RFR below..

Cell and Mobile Phone Radiation – RFR

Mobile phone or cell phone radiation is a specific type of radio frequency radiation that emits pulses at differing frequencies (or transmission bands). The fact that this radiation comes at varying frequencies and is so close to our heads, including ears, eyes and brains, that has many concerned about the long term health risks, particularly to children.

This radio frequency can be absorbed by the body at varying levels depending on the phone itself, distance it is used from the body, strength of the signal and the age of the person. The measure of this absorption is referred to as SAR (Specific Absorption Rate).

It is this RFR, or radio frequency radiation specifically which is currently the subject of many studies across the world as to whether it is actually safe in the long term for our health.


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