You know what they say, right? Everything is different in California. Apple’s iPhone and iPad proudly proclaim, ‘Designed by Apple in California.’ The rest of the world views California as different. California views the world differently, too.
The California Department of Public Health has declared that smartphones are dangerous to our health. In a true Think Different™ moment, CDPH explains the problem and potential solutions to the evils of radio frequency on humanity.
Radiation Is Everywhere
To be right up front about it, radiation comes in many forms, and it’s everywhere. Radio and TV stations. Cell phone towers. Wi-Fi. Microwaves. Humanity is inundated with various forms of radiation which could, if we’re close enough to it, and exposed to it for lengthy periods of time– fry us.
Although the science is still evolving, some laboratory experiments and human health studies have suggested the possibility that long-term, high use of cell phones may be linked to certain types of cancer and othe rhealth effects
Here we are early in the 21st century– a full century of having radio waves and radiation flowing across planet earth– and the science behind the danger is still evolving? The problem here is that there is no clearly defined evidence of exact cause and effect, because could. What could happen with prolonged exposure to our iPhones and iPads?
- brain cancer and tumors of the acoustic nerve (needed for hearing and maintaining balance) and salivary glands
- lower sperm counts and inactive or less mobile sperm
- headaches and effects on learning and memory, hearing, behavior, and sleep
Alright, there’s that. So, what’s the real deal? Are iPhones and smartphones going to kill us by the hundreds of millions in 20 years?
These studies do not establish the link definitely, however, and scientists disagree about whether cell phones cause these health problems and how great the risks might be.
Alright, there is cause for concern because radio frequencies and radiation are everywhere, so what can we do with our iPhones to protect our bodies? It appears as if the problem is prolonged exposure to specific parts of our bodies.
- When you talk on your cell phone, avoid holding it to your head—use the speakerphone or a headset instead. Wireless (Bluetooth) and wired headsets emit much less RF energy than cell phones.
- Send text messages instead of talking on the phone.
- If you are streaming or if you are downloading or sending large files, try to keep the phone away from your head and body.
- Carry your cell phone in a backpack, briefcase, or purse; NOT in a pocket, bra or belt holster. Because your phone’s antenna tries to stay connected with a cell tower whenever it’s on, it emits some RF energy even when you are not using it. It does not emit RF energy when it’s in airplane mode. (Airplane mode turns off cellular, Wi-Fi, andBluetooth.)
That, my friends, is pure California, so keep that in mind.
What does the American Cancer Society say about cell phones? Well, they’re not on the same page as CDPH. Maybe that’s because they’re located in Atlanta, GA near the Centers For Disease Control and have access to different data, or maybe the location makes those folks prone to less worry.
What do the Cancer folks have to say about iPhone and cellphone usage, radio frequency waves, and what you can do to limit exposure?
The RF waves from cell phones come from the antenna, which is part of the body of a hand-held phone. The waves are strongest at the antenna and lose energy quickly as they travel away from the phone. The phone is typically held against the side of the head when in use. The closer the antenna is to the head, the greater a person’s expected exposure to RF energy. The body tissues closest to the phone absorb more energy than tissues farther away.
In other words, the iPhone could be frying your brain. Or, maybe just melting the wax in your ears. What can we do to prevent both?
- The amount of time the person is on the phone.
- Whether or not the person is using the speaker mode on the phone or a hands-free device. Using one of these allows the phone to be held away from the head.
- The distance and path to the nearest cell phone tower. Cell phones adjust their power to use the minimum amount for a good signal. Being farther away from the tower requires more energy to get a good signal, as does being inside a building.
- The amount of cell phone traffic in the area at the time. Higher traffic may require more energy to get a good signal.
- The model of phone being used. Different phones give off different amounts of energy.
I’m sensing a pattern here.
The main concern appears to be a whole bunch of cancers that could be caused by excessive cellphone usage. The list isn’t pretty and uses big words; gliomas, meningiomas, acoustic neuromas, vestibular schwannomas. And perhaps testicular cancer or skin cancer.
Should I use a selfie stick to talk on my iPhone? Or, maybe, use a helium filled balloon or perhaps a drone to keep my iPhone away from my body? Is RF that bad for humanity?
RF waves given off by cell phones don’t have enough energy to damage DNA directly or to heat body tissues. Because of this, it’s not clear how cell phones might be able to cause cancer. Most studies done in the lab have supported the idea that RF waves do not cause DNA damage.
Color me decidedly confused. California’s Department of Health is waxing hysterically on smartphone use while the American Cancer Society seems to think there isn’t much of a problem. Yet.
Has anyone done studies on creatures beyond rats?
A recent small study in people has shown that cell phones may also have some other effects on the brain, although it’s not clear if they’re harmful. The study found that when people had an active cell phone held up to their ear for 50 minutes, brain tissues on the same side of the head as the phone used more glucose than did tissues on the other side of the brain. Glucose is a sugar that normally serves as the brain’s fuel. Glucose use goes up in certain parts of the brain when it is in use, such as when we are thinking, speaking, or moving. The possible health effect, if any, from the increase in glucose use from cell phone energy is unknown.
And we’re back to square one.
A study in Sweden reported that among those with head tumors they occurred more frequently on the side of the head where the cellphone was held. A Danish study found the opposite and no correlation between cellphone use and tumors in and around the head. A UK study came to a similar conclusion.
Is the iPhone killing us? Maybe. Maybe not. Here’s what I plan to do. More speaker phone use, less iPhone to the ear. And, I’m shopping around for an iPhone belt clip to get the device away from cherished body parts and out to where the radiation might melt some of the love handles I carry these days. Otherwise, it appears as if the jury is still out on anything that resembles a verdict.