The opinion of an expert

I have been able to interview an employee from Option, a global leader in wireless connectivity, security and experience. In the follow paragraphs you can find a summary of his opinion regarding the existence of a relation between brain cancer and cell phone usage.

First of all he mentioned that scientist researching the matter are still not certain about the impacts of cell phone radiation on the human brain. But since they cannot guarantee there are no adverse consequences to the use of a mobile phone, operators, like Vodafone, have made their own limits which are lower than the European regulations. (Side note: The European SAR limit is 2 Watt/kg). This limit is applicable both for mobile phones and the network itself. By doing this the operators want to protect the users and, to be honest, to make sure that no one can blame them in the future if the radiation turns out the be harmful.

One of the major precautions mobile phone manufactures take, is making use of directional antennas. These antennas emit radiation in a certain direction which is oriented away from the head when the mobile phone is used for calling. The design of the mobile phone is made in such a way that the user does not handle a mobile phone conversely. Examples of these are the placement of the speaker and the ease of handling the mobile phone in the correct direction.

Furthermore he stated that the impact of the radiation on the human body is not the same in every body part. The limbs are less affected by radiation while more sensitive regions are the brains, intestines and genitals.

He also stated that the effects of the radiation emitted by the mobile phone are similar to those used in a microwave oven. But since it is still unclear what the (long-term) effects are on the human body unnecessary exposure should be limited. So until a clear conclusion can be made on the effects of the radiation of mobile phones the following things should be avoided:

  • Sleeping with your mobile phone under your cushion
  • Keeping your mobile phone in your pocked
  • Using the mobile phone for long calls
  • Using the mobile phone in environments with low reception

He acknowledges the importance of mobile phones these days and that it is very convenient to keep your mobile phone nearby but that since there is still no scientific consensus exposure should be limited. But overall he does not seem to be too concerned since he keeps his mobile phone in a handy holder on its belt.

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8 Responses to The opinion of an expert

  1. In this reportage, young people are addicted to their GSM. They send messages throughout the day. When they wake up, the first thing they do is sending a message.
    Would this not be a good reference to follow them and see if they indeed have an increased risk of cancer by cell phone use? They come every minute of the day come in contact with the RF waves.

    http://www.deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws/mediatheek

    • Bart Minne says:

      Indeed, it would be great to follow them throughout their lives and see if they are more likely to get brain cancer than a control group.
      But it still would be difficult since the researchers have to rule out other factors like genetic sensitivity and environmental factors. Secondly, the group has to be large enough and you have to have a similar control group with people with the same lifestyle but almost no mobile phone usage.

      In theory this would be great, but I think there are several impracticalities that are possibly to difficult to overcome.

      But you are correct that it would be a good idea to follow them over time rather than question them about their mobile phone usage during their lives.

    • Bart Minne says:

      Thanks! I didn’t have time to check it earlier, but really interesting video! Social technologies are getting more and more people addicted. The same trends have been noticed with Facebook and Twitter. It is weird since it’s way more fun to go out and have a chat in real-life.

  2. I guess it’s nearly impossible to do a realistic research to the relation between mobile phones and cancer.
    EM waves cannot be simply filtered out of the air, and there are simply too many other possible causes for cancer. Maybe cancer only occurs when mobile phone waves are combined with something else to make a lethal mix.

    Also, a general problem with science is that we make conclusions based on what we know at this moment. We used to consider that the earth was flat. Now we know that it is round. Einstein turned the world upside down with his relativity theory. What’s to come?

    We consider a lot of things to be exact science, but we don’t know everything that is involved, so is it exact science? (yeah… we’re going to a philosophical way).

    • Bart Minne says:

      It is a bit off topic but mankind always intended to find as much certainty as possible. Therefore humans explain what they see by means of what they know. This explains the emergence of religions and assumptions like the world is flat and the earth is the center of the universe.

      If everything would be put in doubt than most of mankind would live in fear. As an example look at the effect of the Maya prediction for December 21ste 2012. I agree it is a questionable prediction at best but this so called prediction makes a lot of people nervous.

      Anyway, doing study by means of a control group and a study group is indeed difficult. That is one of the reasons why no conclusive answer is given yet. In theory you have to lock the control group in a RF-free zone. For this we have to go to situations like Guantanamo and since we are not CIA that is no option. For the study group we have to make sure that only mobile phone radiation affects them and no other form of radiation so again this would result in a Guantanamo style situation.

      From what I have heard people do not really like it in Guantanamo so I fear that no progressing study will result in clear and conclusive results.

  3. Bart Minne says:

    A purse is already a good idea, guess we should start using man-bags. Also a pocket on the legs or arms would do fine since limbs are less sensitive to the effects of radiation.

    I assume the same effect could occur with wireless internet but since you don’t hold the router directly to your head the effect will be just a fraction of that caused by mobile phones. But it’s the same story, we are only using wireless networks since several years so nothing is known about the long term health effect. I think that if there are any that they’ll be similar to those caused by mobile phones.

    • Bart Minne says:

      On a sidenote: you can probably safely keep your mobile phone in your pocket if you’re one of those people who wear their pants 20cm lower than most of us do.

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