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Is Radiation from Cell Phones harmful? How to Limit

Cell phones emit electromagnetic field (emf) radiation to an extent, but is it harmful or the internet is too loud in this debate? Let’s find out more about the radiation effect of cell phones and also on how to keep safe from it, putting it on limit.

A few years back, mobile handsets were used just as a communication tool. Today, we turn to cell phones for everything. Besides making a call, we use phones for music, streaming, health tracking, finding locations (map), gaming device, GPS, newspapers, and so on. Today, cell phones are most handy partners always with us but are we aware of the effects of radiation from them?

Electromagnetic Radiation is classified as ionizing radiation and non-ionizing radiation. X-rays, Cosmic rays, are ionizing radiation which is a high-frequency signal, and the energy from such radiation is so high that it may even cause DNA damage, leading to the risk of cancer.

The mobile phones communicate with the nearby cell towers by emitting Radio frequency (RF) signals. These RF signals are non-ionizing radiation which means they are low-frequency signals. The energy from such radiation is too low to affect DNA. But still, it can prompt the molecules in the body to vibrate, raising body temperature.

The human body absorbs energy from mobile devices that emit radio frequency radiation, heating different areas of the body where a cell phone is held (e.g., the ear and head). So, we feel our ears or heads heated up when we talk on the phone for a long time. However, this heating is not sufficient to increase the overall body temperature.

Check out: Are you a phone addict? | Check yourself

The level of radiation a mobile phone emit depends on the following:

  • The amount of time we spend on the phone
    The longer we spend on the phone, the more prone we are to radiation.
  • Distance between the phone and the user
    The farther the phone is from our body, the less we are exposed to radiation. 
  • The mobile signal tower
    If signals are weak from a cell tower, the handset ends up emitting more radio frequency signals, thus increasing the radiation level.
  • The model of the phone being used
    Different phones emit different amounts of RF energy. The specific absorption rate (SAR) is the amount of RF energy from the phone absorbed by the user’s body. Different cell phones have different SAR levels. Lower the SAR value, the radiation emitted by the mobile phone is lower. For more, look on.
Mobile phone usage and radiation

The researchers are still debating whether mobile phone radiation could amount to the extent of seriousness or not. But, being active mobile phone users, we can’t deny having symptoms like sleeplessness, headache, eye and ear-related problem, and stress after using phones for a long time. The catch is we can’t stop using smartphones as it has become our daily driver for increasing efficiency, connectivity, and functionality at our fingertips. Thus, to minimize the hazards of mobile phone radiation, we must be aware of when, where, and how to use it.

Check out: NTA to Study Radiation Effect from Cell Towers

Some of the preventive approaches while using mobile phones:

Here is how to keep yourself safe from the radiation from mobile phone usage and put it under limit/threshold.

  • Using Hands-free Technology
    Making calls via wired or wireless headsets will drastically reduce the radiation we absorb while talking. However, the wireless headpieces also use fewer portions of radio waves to transmit data. 
  • Using Loud speaker mode: 
    If nobody is around, putting a phone in loudspeaker mode and holding it some distance away from our body will substantially reduce radiation. The mobile handsets manual also suggests keeping our phones a certain distance from our bodies.
  • Using a landline phone: 
    Using legacy wired telephones for voice communication might keep us away from mobile radiation. 
  • Preferring messages over voice calls:
    The RF signals emitted by mobile phones are less when messaging compared to making calls. Therefore, using messages instead of making calls might be the simplest way of reducing exposure to cell phone radiation. 
  • Avoid using phones in poor signal areas:
    In the areas where the mobile tower signal is weak, to get a good signal from the nearest tower, the cell phones need to emit more power, which increases the amount of radiation emitted. So, the fewer tower lines in our handsets mean more radiation while talking. Avoiding using a phone in low signal areas like lifts, moving vehicles, and basements will prevent us from exposure to more radiation. Check out: What to do to get a good mobile signal?
  • Using the phone with low SAR:
    Lowering the SAR value means fewer emissions. Therefore, a phone model with a low specific absorption rate (SAR), should be the preference. Smartphones have more radiation compared to basic and feature phones. 
  • Limiting the time spent on the phone: 
    The more we spend on the phone, the more we are exposed to radiation. To limit the time spent on the phone, we can use the phone mindfully, or we can install apps that alarm us about the overuse of the phone. 
  • Monitoring the radiation level of our phones: 
    Using an app to monitor the radiation level of our phone will alarm us to stop using the phone when radiation crosses its threshold. 
  • Keeping the mobile far from the body: 
    Even if we are not using a phone, cell phones are continuously emitting some level of radiation to receive a signal from the nearest tower so that it can remain updated. That means we are still prone to some radiation even though we are not using our phones. Thus whenever mobile phones are on, they should be far from the body, like purses and bags. Avoid keeping them in our pockets. Also, instead of keeping the phone under the pillow, putting them away from the bed will prevent us from radiation while sleeping.
  • Turning the phones off when not using:
    Whether we use them or not, our phones are always on, even at night. If you put your phone on “flight mode” (e.g., for use as an alarm clock or media player) emits much less radio-frequency radiation. Thus, turning the phones off while not using them lowers the radiation and saves the battery.

Has the post been helpful to learn about electromagnetic radiation from cell phones? Do let us know in the comments.

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