As we all would agree, smartphones and internet are indispensable parts of our lives. It would be hard for coming generations to even imagine a life without these basic amenities, but all this uber connectivity comes at a price which you should be aware of.
Fine print warnings
Did you know, it is mandatory for smartphone manufacturers to include a warning that your smartphones are unsafe when kept in your pockets or within 1 inch of your body? Manufacturers do include this warning , but buried deep somewhere in the user guide, using every possible maneuver to ensure that you never see it.
I know it would be hard, though not completely irrational, for you to heed to these warning, but if you are informed, you would know better than bringing a smartphone too close to a pregnant woman, your infant child or buy one for your teenager, when their body is already going through intense physical development and other changes.
Atleast keep your smartphone out of your pocket when you are not travelling and use a hands free headset to communicate whenever you are making calls more than a few minutes long.
Your Fertility Under Assault
Researches have been inconclusive on harmful effects of smartphone radiations, or so they say, but more and more scientists now agree that sperm count and overall sperm quality is negatively affected by smartphone radiations. Some studies also conclude that these smartphone radiations can further damage, on a more deeper level by disturbing sperm DNA construction.
Recommended: What’s Wrong With Smartphone In Your Bed or Bedroom
Risk of Cancer
Radiations for long have been suspected as cancer inducing agents. The fact that an Italian court has ruled that a man’s tumor is due to prolonged exposure to cellphone is good enough for every one to pause and ponder. Even The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified cell phone radiation as a Class 2B Carcinogen, the same class as the pesticide DDT and lead.
Long story short, long duration calls can Interfere with your brain fluids, make them boil and even cause cancer. Researchers say if cellphone usage pattern does not change, we will face a 25 times increase in brain tumor cases. This surely sounds scary. Want to know more? Watch the video below.
Cell Phone Dangers | Dr. Devra Davis @ National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Sar Value and Its Futility
Only metric a consumer knows or is provided to judge radiation impacts of Smartphone is SAR or Specific Absorption Rate. The waves our smartphones transmit lie in the Microwave part of the radiation spectrum (same as Microwave oven in your kitchen), and the SAR value is only related to thermal aspects of radiations. It doesn’t take into account any biological impact that these radiations might have on your body.
Besides, SAR value only indicates maximum radiation. A phone with SAR value of 0.7 W/Kg might be more harmful than a phone listing 1.2 W/Kg if the first one is constantly emitting at 0.7W/kg and the the second one only occasionally touches 1.2 W/kg.
Though the maximum permissible limit is 1.6 W/kg, you are better off with phones having extremely low SAR values, BUT you should never assume that a phone with low SAR value is safe and it’s ok to keep it in close proximity to you at all times.
Nobody is sure about long term effects
We all live in radiation age and no matter how hard you fight it, you are inevitably exposed to what are termed “non-ionizing radiations”. These radiations are deemed safe, because they can’t change the structure of Atoms, however the truth is, that nobody knows the long term effects of these radiations.
All studies to judge long term effects are conducted by increasing intensity of radiations beyond what one normally encounters for a short time. It is not feasible to conduct a long term study with low radiations accurately as everyone is exposed to radiation and it is difficult to study controlled groups.
No amount of radiation is safe and we will come to know the long term effects of these radiations, perhaps after 2 or three generations of exposure.
Precautions you can practice
Here are some harmful affects associated with Electromagnetic waves
Thermal effects – The thermal effects of radiations are indicated by SAR value. This can lead to mood alteration, leathargy, improper sleep, loss of memory and ear damage.
Non thermal effects – These include Leakage of Albumin from blood, hearing impairment, colon cancer, disruption of bowel movement and buzzing sound in head.
And here is how you might avoid them
- Switch off your WiFi network when you sleep, and don’t carry your Smartphones with you to your bed.
- Use Landline at Home and at Work, specially for long duration calls. IIT-Bombay professor Girish Kumar warns against smartphone use for more than 6 minutes every day.
- Don’t keep your smartphones in your pocket throughout your day
- Don’t give smartphones to small children
- Don’t assume your smartphone is safe, because it has a low SAR rating
- Not all headsets are safe, use the ones with shielded wires
- if your home or office is near FM station or cell tower, grow plants or trees with more water near your home
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Studies pop up from time to time indicating that cellphone usage is safe. In fact, most studies( even independently funded ones) conclude that smartphones are safe. I am not a conspiracy theorist, nor an expert, but the way world works, i can imagine why Telecom department will do whatever is necessary to evade this issue and get a green flag. A study concludes that a research funded by Industry is more likely to show zero health impacts of Electromagnetic radiations. Even though you are exposed to radiations anyways, it would be in your best interest to practice precautions. No one can be sure of impacts in the long run.