Yes, yes…it’s Friday today and not only that…it’s Friday the 13th…unlucky for some as they say.
And my intention is not to use today to frighten anyone, but I have become involved in some chat on another forum about the dangers of cellphones and their use.
I happened to add a few thoughts myself and it has led to a shed load of queries from worried users! Hell…how did I know I was opening a can of worms….
Anyway, I just thought my post that created all the hoo-haa would make good reading here, as I like to think we’re all sensible folk and things like this we should all know.
Before I post the article, let me fill you in on my background, which enables me to comment on this subject. I qualified as an Electronics engineer originally and then worked with several high-tech companies, who shall remain nameless. Suffice to say, we worked with high frequency radar and telecommunications, and in total, I spent up to 18 years of my life in that kind of work.
That of course doesn’t make me an expert in the field. But I do know what rf radiation means, what it can and cannot do, etc. Over all that time, I have seen people who worked with rf carelessly, develop medical problems….in fact I myself had problems for a while, until I left this field of electronics….that subject verges on the personal slightly, so I won’t go into detail here…I’m sure you’ll understand.
Ok, let’s get down to talking……it was all about cellphones, how they’ve become a common thing these days, how long we spend using them, without thinking of what may be happening to our health, etc.
It has been acknowledged by the World Health Org that cellphones DO cause the user’s brain to heat up, and MAY cause tumors in some people. Notice the diplomatic verbage!
On the other hand, there have been reports backed by cellphone manufacturers, saying that cellphones are safe to use….again, the manufacturers, distributors and all others involved in the supply chain WOULD say that, wouldn’t they, seeing the huge take-up of this technology.
To my knowledge, only a handful of truly independent research has been done, but even that has fallen short of telling the general public what they need to know, ie are cellphones safe?
So with this in mind, I presented my views, gained from actually working hands-on with rf equipment and from discussions with my learned colleagues.
Cellphone technology was pushed into production very, very hurriedly, without having it tested fully, particularly as regards health of users.
As I mention, it has become such an everyday item now, with several units in almost every house, that for anybody to stand up on his/her soapbox and shout out about it’s dangers, could well be a highly risky thing to do, as the companies involved, and possibly even governments, may not like it.
What I will say is what I know….you can make your own minds up from that.
A cellphone is an electronic device that sends and receives phone calls, in the form of digitized rf signals. In order for it to do that, it needs to generate quite high levels of rf radiation. This radiation fans out from a cellphone handset in all directions…it transmits omni-directionally.
Part of this rf radiation finds itself connecting with the nearest cellphone mast or substation, depending on the nearest cell in your area (hence the name “cell-phone”). As you move around in a car let’s say, your phone automatically moves into whatever cell your position dictates, so that you can carry on chatting without losing your call.
But part of that radiation also goes straight into your head! It’s estimated by some that around 60 to 80% of the rf generated by a cellphone, finds itself in your head….not good.
What does this rf radiation do in your head? The jury is out on that one….as I said, nobody wants to say anything for fear of upsetting the apple cart.
From my experience, I can tell you a little story that is funny, but with a serious undertone to it.
When we were stationed overseas, working on radars, some of the guys with us were married, but having been away from families for months on end, they used to avail themselves of the local ladies whenever they could.
Before going out on the town, these guys used to switch the radar units on, and stand in front of the scanners (antenna), fully exposing themselves to the rf radiation emanating out. What that did was to, shall we say, fix the men’s “goolies” so that any lady they went with would not end up becoming pregnant!
That is just one example of what rf can do…who knows what else?
Ok, so knowing all this, how can we minimise the risks associated with cellphones?
If we’re gonna use a cellphone, this is best how to use it….
1 Highest radiation source is from the back of the handset, ie behind the keypad, so if you’re going to carry it in your pocket, pop it in your pocket with the keypad facing inwards….
2 When taking or sending calls, try keeping the phone about a pencil width away from your ear if you can (!), or better still, use a hands-free jig….
3 Be extra careful if you’re in a bad reception area, because the phone is automatically programmed to ramp up its radiation when seeking a weak signal….
4 Change hands around every 30 secs if you can (!), ie use alternate ears; that reduces the amount of radiation going into one side of your head……
5 When dialling, the radiation is strong as well, so dial on speaker-phone if you can.
6 Even when not making a call, a cellphone that is switched on still radiates rf, so in my opinion, the best place for it is in those little holsters that fit onto your trouser belt. If you’re a lady, even better, as you can carry it away from your body completely, in your handbag.
7 The safest thing is to limit your use…my cellphone usage is 90% SMS text, 10% actual calls.