Cell phone radiation? Does it cause cancer? How to reduce your exposure

For the first time in history, most of the human population places wireless radiation antennas next to their heads for minutes to hours a day. Are there any health effects from cell phone use? Does it cause cancer? Why is it associated with infertility? What should children and pregnant women be aware of? Are the various products for mobile radiation protection working? Does it help to use Bluetooth? What is SAR? When does the mobile emit 28 times more radiation? Are there effective ways to protect yourself from cell phone radiation?


What kind of radiation is emitted?

Your mobile phone emits non ionizing pulsed radio frequency radiation at a frequency of 900-2100MHz while talking.

When you are not speaking to the phone (in stand by mode), the mobile phone only transmits intermittently to communicate with the nearest mobile antenna, but continuously transmits if you have enabled the Wi-Fi antenna and / or data antenna for downloading data from the Internet.

Are there any health effects?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has included cell phone radiation to the list of possible carcinogens based on research which links mobile phones with brain cancer.

Heavy use of mobile phones can cause long term health problems:

  • Using a mobile phone destroys nerve cells according to universities in Frankfurt, Bristol, Verona, Florence and elsewhere. [1]
  • Less than a minute of talking to the cell phone is enough to cause the accumulation of red blood cells.
  • Damage to DNA, leukemia and cancer have been recorded by universities in the USA, Russia, China, Israel, Italy, Great Britain and Germany.
  • The risk of brain cancer is 20% higher in mobile phone users that have used it over 10 years and 200% higher when they hold the phone mainly on the same side of the head (Hardell et al. [2], [3])

"It's all a false alarm? No, the studies are competent, conclusive, powerful, scientific, factual and most certainly correct. The chicks are now dead as a dodo, the peaks in the EEG are obvious as are the dark spots in the brain, the leaks in the blood brain barrier, the breaks in the DNA, the irritation of the nerves. Red blood cells look like frog spawn, ears start to ring, the blood pressure goes up, and the level of concentration goes down These are the facts. The researchers who made those and many other findings are competent, they are well known and renowned the world over, coming from prestigious universities, institutes, laboratories, agencies, from the WHO, even from the mobile phone service providers themselves. False alarm? No way." Wolfgang Maes, German Institute for Building Biology [1]

“It took about 100 years for us to figure out that cigarette smoke was dangerous,” Carlo says. “It took about 80 years to figure out that asbestos was dangerous. [But] it took us five years to figure out that mobile phones are dangerous, once we started to look. What we’re talking about here is an effect that, at least in terms that are able to be recognized, greater than smoking and asbestos.” Dr. George Carlo, Founder Safe Wireless Initiative [4]

Why should children and pregnant women minimize the use of cell phones?

Due to their less developed immune system, developing organisms are more vulnerable to the impacts of man-made radiation.

Many scientists now link the greater exposure of children and their parents to wireless radiation to the outbreak of childhood brain cancers and cognitive and behavioral problems.

Announcements for avoiding mobile phone use by children and pregnant women have been published by:

  • The International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety
  • The Russian Committee for the Protection on Non-Ionizing Radiation
  • The European Parliamentmobilephonekids
  • The Ministry of Education of Great Britain
  • The Cancer Institute of the University of Pittsburgh
  • The committee of the British Government Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (IEGMP) [5]
  • The Ministry of Health of Israel and France
  • The Finnish Committee for Protection from Radiation
  • The German Academy of Pediatrics [6] etc.

Read the announcement of the Russian Commission for Protection against Non-Ionizing Radiation [7] :

"For the first time in history, we face a situation when most children and teenagers in the world are continuously exposed to the potentially adverse influence of the electromagnetic fields (EMF) from mobile phones. Electromagnetic field is an important biotropic factor, affecting not just a human health in general, but also the processes of the higher nervous activity, including behavior and thinking. Radiation directly affects the human brain when people use mobile phones.

Despite the recommendations, listed in the Sanitary Rules of the Ministry of Health, which insist that persons under 18 years should not use mobile phones (SanPiN 2.1.8/ point 6.9), children and teenagers became the target group for the marketing the mobile communications.

The current safety standards for exposure to microwaves from mobile phones have been developed for adults and don’t consider the characteristic features of the children’s organism. The WHO considers the protection of the children’s health from possible negative influence of the EMF of the mobile phones as a highest priority task. This problem has also been confirmed by the Scientific Committee of the European Commission, by national authorities of the European and Asian countries, by participants of the International scientific conferences on biological effects of the EMF.

Potential risk to the health of children is very high:

  • The absorption of the electromagnetic energy in a child’s head is considerably higher than that in the head of an adult (children’s brain has higher conductivity, smaller size, thin skull bones, smaller distance from the antenna etc.);
  • Children are more sensitive to EMF than the adults;
  • A childs brain has higher sensitivity to the accumulation of the adverse effects under conditions of chronic exposure to the EMF
  • EMF can lead to higher nerve activity;
  • Today’s children will spend more timeon their mobile phone than adults.

According to the opinion of the Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, the following health hazards are likely to be faced by young mobile phone users in the nearest future:

  • disruption of memory, decline of attention, diminishing learning and cognitive abilities, increased irritability, sleep problems, increase in sensitivity to stress, increased epileptic readiness.

Expected (possible) remote health risks:

  • brain tumors, tumors of acoustical and vestibular nerves (in the age of 25-30 years), Alzheimer’s disease, “got dementia”, depressive syndrome, and other types of deterioration of the nervous structures of the brain (in the age of 50 to 60).

The members of the Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection emphasize the ultimate urgency to defend children’s health from the influence of the EMF coming from mobile communication systems. We appeal to the government authorities, to the entire society to pay closest attention to this coming threat and to take adequate measures in order to prevent negative consequences to the future generation’s health. The children using mobile communication are not able to realize that they subject their brain to EMF radiation and their health – to the risk. We believe that this risk is not much lower than the risk to the children’s health from tobacco or alcohol. It is our professional obligation not to let damage be done to the children’s health by inactivity."


When are cell phones more likely to cause infertility?

Placing your mobile phone in the pocket of your trousers submits your genitals to an increased amount of radiation.

"In the past, we applied microwaves for birth control. Today we make phone calls with it. Go figure." Dr. Huai Chiang, advisor to the World Health Organization in radiation issues, Medical School of Zhejiang China [1]

The EM Radiation Research Trust warns that carrying your mobile phone in your pocket can cause infertility.

The biggest problem is for those who use hands free and keep their cell phone in their pocket while they are talking on the phone.

Learn more for the information campaign "Save the Males".


What Apple writes in the safety instructions of iPhones

According to Apple, iPhone users should use their phone in a certain way so as not to exceed the safe levels of exposure to electromagnetic radiation!

Note that the permissible exposure limits to radiation from wireless devices are already hundreds of times higher than the limits proposed by various scientific bodies in recent years (see article on safe exposure limits here).

For the iPhone, Apple states the following (http://manuals.info.apple.com/en_US/iphone_4_important_product_information_guide.pdf):

"Exposure to Radio Frequency Energy iPhone transmits and receives radio frequency (RF) energy through its antennas.

The iPhone cellular antenna is located at the bottom edge of iPhone, to the left of the Home button. The Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® antenna is located at the top edge off the iPhone, to the right of the headset jack. 

When carrying an iPhone, keep it 1.5 cm (5/8 inch) or more away from your body to ensure exposure levels remain at or below the maximum levels.

Avoid cases with metal parts. 

Exposure to RF energy is related to time and distance. 

If you are concerned about RF exposure, decrease your total talk time on your iPhone and increase your distance to the iPhone by using one of the many hands-free options available, including the built-in speakerphone, the supplied headphones with built-in mic, or other third-party accessories."

View articles and videos on the internet:

Youtube video: What you do not know about your Cell Phone

Do not Hold Your iPhone Too Close to Your Head, Apple Says So

Should we take an example from insurance companies?

Insurance companies do not "close their eyes" to the issue of radiation as most people do. They are already taking precautions, since potential claims for damage from artificial radiation can cost them dearly.

Especially on the effects of mobile phones, Guy Malyon, head broker insurance of Aon Global, notes that "The concern is that it could be the next big thing" while the insurance giant Lloyd's of London notes that "the number of reports on mobile telecommunications and its impact on health is immense, and the study findings are often conflicting" [8] .

Read the following interesting quote from the relevant article of the magazine "The Observer" [9] :

"Concern about the safety of mobile phones has prompted a leading Lloyd's underwriter to refuse to insure phone manufacturers against the risk of damage to users' health."

The move comes amid mounting concerns about the industry's influence on research into the long-term effects of using a mobile.

The London market provides insurance for everything from aircrafts to footballers' legs. But fears that mobile phones will be linked to illnesses such as cancer and Alzheimer's disease have prompted John Fenn, of underwriting group Stirling, to refuse to cover manufacturers against the risk of being sued if mobiles turn out to cause long-term damage.

Fenn said: 'There are people in the insurance market who close their eyes to the issue because they say there is no scientific proof of a problem. If you go back to asbestos, it "wasn't a problem" at one time either.' Asbestos claims helped bring the Lloyd's market to its knees in the early 1990s."

"The European Parliament is greatly concerned about the fact that insurance companies are tending to exclude coverage for the risks associated with EMFs from the scope of liability insurance policies, the implication clearly being that European insurers are already enforcing their version of the precautionary principle." European Parliament resolution 2008/2211 [10]


Do the products for mobile radiation protection work?

Protective products are supposed to "neutralize (?) electromagnetic radiation", "energy products that carry the appropriate information (?)" and several similar products that are placed on mobile phones have flooded the market.

Most products do not achieve any measurable reduction of the mobile phone radiation.

Shielding cases for mobile phones theoretically limit the absorption of radiation from the side of the human body. However, there is some doubt about their real effectiveness because they hinder the reception signal of the cell phone, causing it to emit with more power.

Should I choose devices with low SAR?

SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) is the unit used to measure the amount of radiation absorbed by the human body when using a mobile phone.

For the SAR measurement, complex mathematical models are used which simulate the use of mobiles in full force. But this does not take into account the effectiveness of each cell phone in real conditions of use.

In low signal conditions, a cell phone with a high theoretical SAR produces a lower SAR than another with lower theoretical SAR.

However, it is probably better to choose a phone with low SAR (<0,6) and avoid those with high SAR (> 1).

A list of devices and their SAR values can be found on the websites:

http://sarvalues.com/the-complete-sar-list-for-all-phones-europe/ .

http://www.sardatabase.com .

Until we find a more reliable way of comparing the radiation of each model, we suggest you reduce your exposure to mobile radiation by following the tips you will find below.

What is the difference of the 3G, 4G signals from the 2G?

Mobile phones communicate with each other using existing mobile antenna networks.

The main difference between older and more widespread mobile networks 2G (GSM900MHz, GSM1800MHz) or the most modern networks 3G (UMTS 2100MHz) and 4G (1800MHz), is that the latter provide much higher data rates.

This means that when we signal 3G or 4G, you can surf the Internet, download videos etc. with much higher speeds.

Does our mobile phone emit 28 times more radiation on 2G signal compared to when we have a 3G signal?

Apparently, talking with a 2G signal we receive a far greater amount of radiation than when we talk with a 3G signal (on average 28 times more radiation according to research [11]!)

This is because the phones in 2G mode transmit at full power when trying to connect (maximum power 2W), ie. at the start of a call and periodically to maintain contact with the nearest mobile antenna.

On the other hand when using 3G signal mobile phones, they emit the minimum radiation to maintain the connection (maximum power 125 - 250 mW).

So how come the 3G phones consume battery a lot faster?

When connected to 3G networks our cell phone consumes 40-50% more energy than when connected to 2G networks [12].

However, this is not related to the transmission power but to the more complex and energy intensive signal decoding which is necessary when talking using a 3G signal.

Mobile phone safer use Tips

  • Keep you cell phone as far away from your head as possible during your calls
  • It is better to turn on the speakers or use a hands-free cable.
  • Don't keep your phone in your pocket when you talk using hands free, as the genitals are particularly sensitive to wireless radiation.
  • Limit your talk time while using your mobile phone to when it is really necessary - it is better to make contact by SMS
  • Prefer fixed telephone lines, especially when you make long calls.
  • Prefer making calls when you have a 3G signal as the emitted radiation of the mobile is much lower than when you talk with a 2G signal.
  • Avoid using the phone in areas with bad signal where the phone is transmitting at full power in order to connect (best signal is usually next to the windows).
  • Avoid using your mobile phone inside the car, in trains, boats, buses etc., because the radiation is being recycled internally and reflected on metal surfaces. As you move the mobile transmits at full power because it constantly tries to connect to the nearest antenna.
  • Using a bluetooth headset is not recommended since it is a weak but continuous radiation source (exception: when you talk a lot on the mobile phone, especially in areas with poor signal, it is better to have the phone away from your head and speak using bluetooth).
  • Divide your talktime by holding the cell phone on both sides of the head.
  • If you use a smartphone, turn on the data or Wi-Fi antenna only when you want to browse the Internet. Most applications download data whenever you are using their antennas. This significantly increases the radiation emitted by your cell phone.

Are mobile phones the biggest risk?

Mobile phones have been studied more than any wireless radiation source because they are now being used by billions of people and it is easier to carry out research on their biological effects. They also are  the most recognizable radiation source.

However, their burden is usually transient and intermittent unlike dozens of other radiation sources emitting radiation 24 hours a day to which we may be exposed for many hours, often without our knowledge.

Actual reduction of long-term electromagnetic daily burden can only be achieved if you avoid high levels of artificial radiation in all types of spaces such as the bedroom, office, living room, etc.

You can check your exposure to all kinds of electromagnetic fields with a radiation meter


[1] Wolfgang Maes, Science - Really ;, Conference 2006 «Building Biology - Architecture - Environmental Medicine»

[2] Hardell L et al, (October 2006) Tumour risk Associated with Use of Cellular Telephones Or Desktop Cordless Telephones, World J Surg Oncol 2006 Oct 11? on the 4th: 74

[3] Hardell L et al, (February 2006) Case-Control Study of The Association Between The Use of Cellular and Cordless Telephones and malignant tumors diagnosed Brain During, Agents 2,000 to 2003, Environ Res. 2006 Feb; 100 (2): 232-41

[4] A recent poll suggests widespread cell phone use is a social malady. One scientist think it’s a lot worse than that, http://www.emfacts.com/2006/10/578/

[5] Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones, Mobile Phones and Health, Advice to Industry, (1.53), PP eight, April 2000.

[6] "German Academy of Pediatrics: Keep Kids Away from Mobiles", Microwave News, Vol. 21, No. 4, p 5, Jan / Feb 2001.

[7] Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, CHILDREN AND MOBILE PHONES: THE HEALTH OF THE FOLLOWING GENERATIONS IS IN DANGER

[8] Lloyd's preparing for personal injury related to cell phone use, Canadian Underwriter

[9] Insurers Balk at Risks of Phones, Sarah Ryle, The Observer,

[10] European Parliament resolution of 2 April 2009 on health concerns associated with electromagnetic fields (2008/2211(INI))

[11] Measured radiofrequency exposure during various mobile-phone use scenarios, Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology

[12i] On the Impact of 2G and 3G Network Usage for Mobile Phones' Battery Life, European Wireless 2009

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