OVER the past few years, you may have read about the probable harm increased cell phone usage may have on cancer cells and the human brain.
If you have, this article is simply a way to lay the information out on the table in the hope that you gain a little more knowledge about this issue.
First off though, it needs to be clear that at present, there is no consistent evidence which proves that constant cell phone usage heightens your risk of getting cancer, and while there are ongoing studies into this field, nothing conclusive has come of it yet.
Speaking to The Fiji Times about this issue was specialist Dr Ratu Vereniki Raiwalui who concluded that although this area lacked a definite answer, it was certainly worth educating yourself on. He outlined three main points to consider: "Cell phones emit radio frequency energy, a form of non-ionising electromagnetic radiation, which can be absorbed by tissues closest to where the phone is held," he said.
Just for your information, "non-ionising electromagnetic radiation" simply means extremely low-frequency, as opposed to "ionising electromagnetic radiation", which is a much higher frequency, which can in fact increase cancer risks, such as x-rays and cosmic rays.
The second point he made was that the amount of radio frequency energy a cell phone user is exposed to depends on the technology of the phone, the distance between the phone antenna and the user, the extent and type of use, and the user's distance from cell phone towers.
And finally: "Studies thus far have not shown a consistent link between cell phone use and cancers of the brain, nerves, or other tissues of the head or neck," Dr Raiwalui said.
With these points noted, it begs the questions "how exactly does this cell phone frequency affect the human body?" and "how can people reduce their exposure to radio frequencies from cell phones?"
To answer the first, Dr Raiwalui provided some information for the average person from both his personal experience and some reliable researches. He said according to a recent study, the only known biological effect of radio frequency energy was heating, such as in microwaves.
"The ability of microwave ovens to heat food is one example of this effect of radio frequency energy."
"Radiofrequency exposure from cell phone use does cause heating; however, it is not sufficient to measurably increase body temperature," the study explained.
He added that the study showed that results were very initial and preliminary and that any possible health outcomes from it were still unknown.
When questioned about ways in which one could reduce their exposure to such frequencies, Dr Raiwalui cited suggestions from the Federal Communications Commission and the US Food and Drug Administration which included the use of handsets while on the phone, investing in landlines if possible, reducing phone conversations if there is no landline nearby and using a hands-free device: "which places more distance between the phone and the head of the user," Dr Raiwalui explained.
Overall however, although there is evidence which proves the heating ability of low-frequencies, there is nothing yet which directly links this heating ability to the heating of the human brain or brain cells to heighten cancer risks in humans.