Mobile or cell phones are now a days an integral part of modern telecommunications in every individual life. As of 2015, there were 7.4 billion subscriptions worldwide, though the actual number of users is lower as many users own more than one mobile phone. As billions of people use mobile phones globally, a small increase in the incidence of adverse effects on health could have major public health implications on long term basis.
Mobile phones emit radiofrequency energy, a form of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation, which can be absorbed by tissues close to the phone. The amount of radiofrequency energy a mobile phone user is exposed depend on many factors as the technology of the phone, the distance between the phone and the user, the extent and type of mobile phone use and the user’s distance from cell phone towers. Mobile phones cause various health hazards including changes in brain activity, reaction times, and sleep patterns. More studies are underway to try to confirm these findings. When mobile phones are used very close to some medical devices (including pacemakers, implantable defibrillators, and certain hearing aids) there is the possibility of causing interference with their operation. Children have the potential to be at greater risk than adults for developing brain cancer from cell phones. The permittivity of the brain decreases as one gets older and in children, radiation penetrates far beyond the mid-brain.
Moreover, use of mobile phones influences our posture and body mechanics in unhealthy ways that contribute to neck, upper back, shoulder, and arm pain. Food and drug administration(FDA) have suggested steps to reduce the exposure to radiofrequency energy: Reserve the use of cell phones for shorter conversations.
Use a hands-free device, which places more distance between the phone and the head of the user. While web surfing, mobile phones should be used at eye level. Certain products claimed to be shields from EM radiation from cell phones are available but there are no scientific proofs that they actually reduce exposure. Infact reports suggest such ‘shields’ may interfere with the phone’s signal, cause it to draw even more power to communicate with the base station, and possibly emit more radiation.
Dr. Vidushi Khajuria