Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I'll bet you wish you actually read that user manual now

I was on the train last night, journeying back to NYC from my glorious visit to my hometown over the weekend. I’m back! And I’ll be posting more often now that my mini-vaycay has ended. I was reading the July issue of Vogue when I came across a disturbing looking article entitled “Wake-up Call” with a full page picture of melted disintegrating cell-phones opposite. Naturally, I was intrigued. However, what I learned is more than intriguing, it was downright scary. I’m not talking conspiracy theory scary, I’m talking real, investigated by scientists and valid enough to be published in Vogue scary.

Did you know that cell-phone emit radiation that is absorbed by your body? I mean besides the occasional rumor that men who wear a cell-phone in a clip on their belt may experience decreased sperm count. Well they do, and the decrease in sperm count among men wearing cell-phones in belt clips is because of the radiation the cell-phone is putting off that is being absorbed by their *ahem* boys.

The article goes on to extol how research on the dangers of cell-phone radiation emission was done before cell-phones entered into the mainstream as a “lifestyle accessory” rather than a convenience that few had access to. It was before many households (20 percent) exclusively used cell-phones (rather than landlines) as their primary means of communication. It was also completed before children had their own cell-phones, or before it was likely that children even ever used a cell-phone, so there is not current data on how much radiation may be absorbed by their thinner skulls. It explains that the dangers of cell-phone radiation are largely unknown, and that they could be much more dangerous than you might imagine.

It turns out that the user manual that comes with cell-phones even recommends that you hold the phone away from your head while speaking (though it does not say that this is to limit the amount of radiation you absorb). I bet you wish you actually read that thing now! Constant exposure to this radiation through repeated prolonged use of cell-phones has been linked to brain cancer, migraines, and behavioral problems in children born to mothers with significant cell-phone exposure while pregnant.

And yet, the United States is not devoting any significant amount of time or resources to investigating how damaging cell-phones really are (Europe is waaaay ahead of us on this one). There are fears in the scientific community that a couple decades down the line (similar to the jump in lung cancer rates a few decades after WWII really popularized smoking as a pastime) there will be huge increases in the rate of brain tumors in the general populace. While not everyone who uses a cell-phone will develop brain cancer (like everyone who smokes will not develop lung cancer), isn’t it a big enough concern (BRAIN tumors people!!) to at least merit looking in to?

In the meantime, what can you do? Well, you can start by being really paranoid your brain is frying every time you use your cell-phone. And more productively, you can visit the Environmental Working Group Web site to see where your phone stacks up (the “healthy” radiation level is below 1.6 watts per kilogram). You can text instead of calling, wear a hands free headset connected to the phone by a wire (blue tooth doesn’t count), resist storing your cell-phone in your pocket, and avoid using your phone in low service areas. When the phone is working harder to function, and thus emitting more radiation. When you’ve finished that, start putting some pressure on the FCC and FDA to re-investigate cell-phone by increasing awareness about this little know issue.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

oh man, now i'm paranoid. it seems like mine (the motorola droid from verizon) is safe, whatever that means!


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