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Health Hazards of Cell Phone Radiation to Children and Adults

Updated on August 28, 2017
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Alfred is a long-time teacher and computer enthusiast who works with and troubleshoots a wide range of computing devices.

Cell phone radiation is yet to make complete sense to health experts because phones have only become common place a few years back. Whereas we have always been exposed to electromagnetic radiation from electrical devices like radio, microwave and TVs, the concept of radio frequency waves from mobile devices remain a bit of a puzzle!

Part of the reason is that mobile technology has evolved very fast in a short span of time.

Second is the ugly fact that mobile phones, unlike other electronic devices, have become part and parcel of our bodies. We talk through them in close proximity, we keep them in our pockets, and place them under the pillow as we sleep!

As a result, we have all these radio frequency waves running through our bodies at full course and it gets even worse when we chat on phones for long hours.

Research by Clinical Neurophysiology shows that thirty minute exposure to LTE cell phone radiation affects your brain activity.

Exposing children to mobile phones exposes them to cell phone radiation
Exposing children to mobile phones exposes them to cell phone radiation

What Researchers Say About Radition

Research about health hazards of cell phone radiation continues to give elusive and inconclusive results, especially when assessed in-tandem with evolving and complex mobile and wireless devices.

A handful of health experts actually believe radiation from mobile devices is not harmful. To them, the frequency dosage of low-level electromagnetic radiation are insufficient to cause alarm!

But in a press release document of May 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer/WHO reported that radio frequency magnetic fields emitted through mobile phones exposed users to a malignant type of cancer known as glioma.

The document thus classified mobile phone radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” (IARC Class 2B).

Also inconclusive, are research findings about the side effects of cell phone radiation in children. The director of Center for Family and Community Health at America's UC Berkley's School of Public Health, Joel Moskowitz, said, 'It will take several decades to get conclusive evidence on this.'

Moskowitz and other health experts were also up in arms in 2013, protesting another press release by Journal of the National Cancer Institute which claimed that exposure to the levels of electromagnetic fields that is in phones is not bad enough to children.

Children have become the biggest users of mobile phones and tablets in the last couple of years, and according to Mobile Youth Report, interaction with these devices has become a priority in their lives.

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By 2005, when mobile phone usage was taking shape, only two billion users worldwide used mobile phones. The number had risen to 6 billion in 2011. In 2013, mobile phone subscription recorded 6.8 billion users.

According to Daily Mail UK, children account for a third of global mobile phone usage. While not necessarily using mobiles for voice calls, children are using them for longer hours than adults.

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What Is Cell Phone Radiation?

Radiation is basically energy waves which travel through space. A popular example of radiation is the ultraviolet (UV) radiation emitted by the sun towards the earth. To protect man from UV radiation, is the ozone layer that sits between sun and earth.

Small amount of radiation from the sun is good since it also provides the much need vitamin D. However, the consequences of a direct hit of radiation from the sun are immense. They range from eye inflammation to skin aging and high concentration of ultraviolet radiation which leads to skin cancer.

Cell phone radiation, on the other hand, is electromagnetic in nature because it uses radio frequency waves to enable wireless communication.

Always ensure your phone meets the SAR requirements, which are between 1.6 and 2 watts per kilogram.
Always ensure your phone meets the SAR requirements, which are between 1.6 and 2 watts per kilogram.

Dangers of Cell Phone Radiation to Children

Cell phone radiation affects babies and teenage kids more than it does adults. It happens that children are exposed to these devices much earlier in life making it possible for all dangers therein to have sufficient breeding time.

Unlike adults, children have thinner and softer brain tissues which permits radiation to travel through them fast, and their DNA makeup is subject to manipulation through electromagnetic fields!

To show their concern about radiation exposure to children, the American Academy of Pediatrics drafted a document to the American Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asking for strict regulations on children using cell phones and wireless devices.

Apart from a couple of other consequences, below is a list of short term and long term dangers of cell phone radiation to children and adults.

  • Memory loss
  • DNA breakup
  • Breast cancer
  • Lots of stress
  • Weakened bones
  • Immune dysfunction
  • Frequent headaches
  • Neurological diseases
  • Brain Cancer and tumor
  • Increased glucose in the brain
  • Sperm damage and thus reduced fertility
  • Abnormalities and biological effects on unborn babies

Radiation warnings besides a cell phone tower
Radiation warnings besides a cell phone tower

The World Health Organisation report on side effects of cell phone radiation can be downloaded from here.

The image is Nickolay Lamm's visual imagination  of cellular communication taking place over New York. It helps elaborate how much radio waves fly around us.
The image is Nickolay Lamm's visual imagination of cellular communication taking place over New York. It helps elaborate how much radio waves fly around us. | Source

Cell Phone Radiation Protection Tips

While it is next to impossible to fight radiation exposure as a whole, you can still protect against cell phone radiation by following the measures listed below.

These apply to both adults and children.

  • When shopping for a phone, go for one with the lowest Specific Absorption Rate (SAR). Avoid generic phones that lack proper documentation.
  • As much as possible, send text messages other than making calls.
  • If you are to make phone calls, make it brief.
  • If you are to make long phone calls, use fixed line.
  • Use in built speakerphone or hands-free devices. This helps keep the phone further away from the head. Remember to use Bluetooth sets sparingly.
  • Air tube headsets are preferable to headsets.
  • Use the Pong Case. It helps divert radiation away from your body.
  • Avoid making calls when network connectivity is poor. Your mobile phone works harder trying to acquire the best cellular reception.
  • In order to limit the duration of a phone call, only put the phone next to your head when the receiver on the end has picked up your call.
  • Follow manufacturer instructions regarding the distance the phone should stay away from your body. Normally, a centimeter and a half away is good enough.

SAR guidelines in a Samsung smartphone
SAR guidelines in a Samsung smartphone
  • Do not allow young babies to play with phones. If you cannot help it, make sure to turn on Airplane mode. Remember though that phone batteries too, emit some degree of magnetic fields.
  • Do not carry your phone in the pocket, near your breasts or around the eyes. Put your phone in a bag.
  • If you are pregnant, keep the phone away from the abdomen.
  • Do not put the phone under the pillow or near your head as you sleep.
  • Use special protective cases for your mobile phone. A protective casing can help control the amount of radiation that reaches your body organs.
  • Turn off your phone wi-fi and other wireless gadgets if you are not using them.
  • Buy radio frequency meters to know the levels of radiation in your phone and other devices.
  • Most importantly keep the phone away from your body as much as possible.

Protect Against Cell Phone Radiation

© 2013 Alfred Amuno


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    • amuno profile image

      Alfred Amuno 3 years ago from Kampala

      Thanks John and Dean. It is true that the crucial matter of cell phone radiation is going unnoticed, and how may show up with ugly consequences.

      The best most of us should do is to stay vigilant and help prevent the ugly results in the long run.

    • electronician profile image

      Dean Walsh 3 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Interesting hub, its very worrying that we could have a health time-bomb which will only become apparent when lots of people start getting ill.

    • JonSmith1029 profile image

      JonSmith1029 3 years ago

      Great post. I like the BBC video. All these radio waves make me nervous, especially because it is all around us. Not to mention, many people have wireless in their homes, and sit on the couch with the laptop/tablet in their lap. I wonder if they will ever make a link from wifi to autism birthrates.