Hazards of Cell Phone to Your Health
Since the 1980s when mobile phone otherwise known as cell phone, made an in-road into the market and became very popular in developed nations, its spread has been a blessing to all manners of people across gender, race and age. Even at the time, the number of cell phones in the world was a mere 11.2 million- just two phones per 1,000. According to the United Nations, as at 2010, mobile phone users hit 5 billion. Thus, by 2011 the 5 billion would have added one or two million when many people in remote and distant places owning cell phones, with over 1,000 customers added every minute, while the world population currently stands at 6.94 billion.
The late 1990s and early 2000s witnessed the upsurge in mobile phone ownership; and saw telecoms companies rushing to telecoms-virgin lands of Third World countries with their large populations, whereas global capitalism finds new markets. There is hardly any country, even in Third World nations where people are struggling to make ends meet; there are many competing telecoms companies doing the business of ‘connecting people to people, people to business, business to business; and one family member with the other, as well as friends. According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the growth of telecommunications in the developing world is driven by the use of the phone for mobile banking, and health services. While many farmers use their mobile phone to sell the farm produce. Be that as it seem, more people in developing nations use their mobile for friendship and family contact than for business.
Moreover, the arrival of 3G technology fitted into smart-phones, Black Berry and i-phones have made the internet also available at a punch on consumers’ phone pad or screen. This is fast gaining currency among young and mobile population, and the working-class with higher preference for the much-talk-about popular social network sites such as Facebook, Twitters, Netlog, Tagged etc. Telecoms operation has open a wide array of opportunities!
Majority of the new users, about 59 percent, are in developing countries where cell phones are the first telecommunications technology in history to have more users there than in the developed world, according to the Washington Post. This exponential rise in cell phone users has simplify how businesses are conducted, reduce travel time/cost and improve the level contact among many persons.
All the same, while the spread of cell phone is commendable, especially for the aforementioned reasons and many more; cell phone has side –effects that users must be wary of besides enjoying the best opportunities and access it gives them. For instance, there is a debate (research-based), as to whether or not cell phone use has a strong relationship with cancer. Proponents of the argument like Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (an appendage of the National Institutes of Health), reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), that cell phone’s electromagnetic radiation can lead to certain changes in the brain activity, since then there has been apprehension that the oomph from the cell phone can cause cancer. Energy emitted from cell phone, called radio-frequency energy, is a form of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation.
Some researchers from the International Agency for Cancer on Research (IACR) added its voice to support the JAMA‘s position in its separate publication, though they later debunked the claim, yet IACR has “classified cell-phone-radiation exposure to be ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans”. The research further asserted that even if there is no link, there is “…and increased risk of glioma and malignant types of brain cancer in association with wireless-phone use”. Glioma is a common type of brain tumour that is always linked with the ear. Other cancer researchers have opposed these findings as they posited that cell phone use has no relationship with cancer.
There is another strain of argument that is rife- the scratch card. A friend sent it to my mail box quoting a group of researchers, from the US had confirmed; that the silver coating covering recharge cards or refill voucher from telecommunications companies also causes cancer. The coating contains silver nitro oxide which causes skin cancer. Researchers have reservation for this revelation as well. This dimension is introduced because millions of phone users scratch the silver coating off with their nails. And the propensity that people who use their finger nails to scrape off the covering and do not wash their hands with soap afterwards is very high.
In addition, a more striking research finding on the effects of cell phone is the lowing of sperm-counts in male- which might lead to impotence in men. A report in the Journal of Andrology entitled ‘Cellular phone and male infertility” says using a cell phone can decrease the quality and quantity of a man’s sperm if men stay on the phone more than four hours a day. The report further warns that children, adolescents, young adults and especially pregnant women should take precaution and avoid keeping phone close to reproductive organs, in addition to their heads. These parts of the body are highly sensitive to electromagnetic radiation coming from cell phone, the report concluded. Besides, there is a link between radio frequency energy from cell and fire when it comes in contact with gas, hence people are always warned to have their cell phones turn-off in gas/petrol stations or fuel dumps. Yet, people make and receive in gas/petrol stations
One begins to wonder why almost everything about cell phone is cancer-related. Like the case of HIV/AIDS since in 1980s, the interconnectedness between frequent cell phone use and cancer is still a subject of debate, because it is a puzzle that can only be solved by scientists working on cancer and those developing telecoms soft-wares that would not compromise the user’s health. While it remains so, there is need for cell phone users to take precaution through the following ways.
One, always keep your phone away from your body, especially your head. By doing this, you protect vital organs of the body from the electromagnetic emission. Men should avoid putting cell phone in the thigh-pocket or breast-pocket, instead make use of leather-case and stripe to belt. Ladies can use their hand-bag. Among market women, cell phones are kept in their bra. This is very dangerous! If cell phones could cause cancer to the brain because of their proximity to the ear when in use, how much more lady’s br***t?
Two, the habit of using ear-piece in cell phone conversation must be nurtured. The quality of ear-piece to be used is another issue to grapple with here. This is because, ear-piece that serves as antenna to the phone while playing radio still transmit the emission from the cell phone no matter how distant the cell phone is from your body. Therefore, quality ear-piece with filter is most likely to be the safest. When playing radio on your phone, the hands-free or loudspeaker mode could be activated.
Three, do not use your cell phone as your alarm by your head on your bed’s side. Provided the cell phone is not switch-off radiation still travels, not only when your make/receive calls. Get a standard alarm that will save you from the hazard of keeping your phone by your head- remember the research-based debate of brain cancer and cell phone?
Four, spend less time on the phone at one time, because if for anything, the frequency of contact with the cell phone is the root cause of the linkage. Many young people stay up and spend their nightly hours in phone conversations just because such calls (dubiously call ‘happy hours’) are free from some telecom operators. I think people engage because of weak economic situation. So, make short calls and always send text messages, or at best, use good quality ear-piece with filter to avert body contact.
Lastly, do not scratch you recharge card with your finger nails. Always encourage your vendors to get a spatula-like object to peel-off the silver covering concealing the card’s secret pin whenever you want to recharge. And always obey signs that prohibit cell phone use in gas/petrol stations, fuel dumps, hospitals etc. Do not risk your life with your cell phone!