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Do you feel there is a radiation risk to your brain by using a cell phone ?

Updated on September 03, 2016
Cell phone mast
Cell phone mast
Cell phone
Cell phone
Microwave mast
Microwave mast
Effect on skull/brain of child to adult
Effect on skull/brain of child to adult
Cell phone mast range
Cell phone mast range


There seems to be no middle ground regarding this subject. We all want the convenience of a cell phone but seem to be very willing to believe those who advocate they are akin to standing with a loaded gun to your head.


It is accepted that using a cell phone raises the ear temperature by around 1 degree C but this is no more than you would expect by holding a warm device pressed against the ear. The phone is a transmitter and the electronic circuits will cause it to heat up. This is not the same as using microwaves to excite the molecules in the ear to create deep penetrating heat.


RF radiation, unlike light, does not travel in straight beams, rather, it balloons out from the original transmission source. When studying the emissions we are primarily concerned with RF radiation at levels of 0.010m W/cm² or above, for a single source. (The current FCC standard for cell phone base stations are 0.57m W/cm² for 900 MHz transmissions and 1.0m W/cm² for 1800-2000 MHz.) If we look at the pattern of RF radiation from a 1000 w ERP low-gain antenna mounted on a 45ft tower we find a level of 0.10m W/cm² covering a diameter of abt 50ft and between 36-50ft from the base of the tower. There is a larger contour of 0.010m W/cm² having a diameter of abt. 150ft with the rest of the signal of abt 0.001m W/cm² reaching base level of the tower after abt. 120ft. High gain antennas have a similar pattern but normally there would be 3 or 4 pointing in different directions.


All of this dry information is pretty meaningless to most people but when taken in the context of tests carried out in 2000 by the UK National Radiation Protection Board, their figures may make a little more sense. They measured RF radiation at 118 publicly accessible sites surrounding 17 cell phone base stations. The maximum figure was 0.00083m W/cm² (on a school playing field, 180ft from the school building with the antenna on the roof.) Most reading were >0.0001m W/cm² (i.e. less than 0.01% of the max. public exposure guidelines) When RF radiation from all sources (cell phones, FM radio, TV etc) was taken into account it still measured less than 0.2% of the ICNIRP guidelines. To put this into context we have to reach 4m W/cm² before there are unconfirmed reports of effects, 40m W/cm² before there are reproducible effects and 100m W/cm² before there a clear hazards.


We should not, however, be complacent or allow the regulatory bodies to be similarly lax. The proliferation of RF radiation into our modern lives is increasing exponentially and tiny exposures here and there can suddenly result in hazardous accumulations. Modern cell phones now have many more functions than the original call or text ability. They can now operate in much the same way as a lap-top computer with all the associated power requirements.


However, for the time being, it would appear that RF radiation does not present a health hazard and the only contentious issue is one of unsightly masts and antenna.



Does overheating your brain by using a cell phone worry you ?

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© 2012 Peter Geekie

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      Jane 3 years ago

      I am worried by the papers telling me its dangerous but I don't understand what you are saying. Is it dangerous or not cause the figures don't mean much to me

    • Peter Geekie profile image
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      Peter Geekie 3 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear Jane

      I did write this short article a few years ago as part of an investigation into microwave/RF radiation. I have in on my list to revise into a more user friendly piece and I apologise if in the meantime it is confusing.

      To put it simply, at the moment, there is no evidence to suggest the normal use of a mobile phone is dangerous. However the proliferation of microwave devices in everywhere from shopping centres to military bases is raising cause for concern for those living or working in the immediate vicinity. Carry on enjoying the convenience of your cell phone without worry.

      kind regards Peter

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