Cellphone Radiation – Complete Guide On Studies, Facts, Myths & How To Protect Yourself

Cell Phone Radiation

Once turned on and in use, mobile phones emit insignificant amounts of radiation. They release signals through radio waves, which represent a type of electromagnetic radiation. There is plenty of controversy regarding this aspect, especially as phones must be located close to the head. In other words, radiation is in direct contact with vital components.

Both parts of the argument are supported by various levels of evidence. It is up to you to decide which one is more credible, yet the access to information will help you make a better decision. So, what should you know about radiation?

How Radiation Works

The way radiation works is fairly simple to understand. The phone has a transmitted responsible for encoding the sound of your voice into a continuous sine wave. It is then sent to the antenna and out. Such transmitters have low power. Most smartphones run around one watt of power.

As for the position, transmitters are normally located close to the antenna for a better result, yet it depends on the brand. The process involves electromagnetic radiation when radio waves send encoded signals out. Once out, they are picked up by towers and transmitted.

Based on some research made by the Federal Communications Commission, magnetic and electric energy is almost instant, as it travels at the speed of light. It is hard to estimate where in the spectrum the electromagnetic energy falls, as there can be extremely low frequency energy and severely high alternatives, such as gamma rays.

Bluetooth® Technology

The Bluetooth® technology is among the most common ones in modern cellphones and other similar devices, such as headsets. The radiation levels associated with it are currently below the levels considered to be safe, so most people claim it is safe. The radiation is known as microwave radiation – short wavelengths and rapid oscillations. In fact, this construction is responsible for its capability to travel without wires.

The difference between Bluetooth® and cellphone radiation is in the range. Cellphones rely on satellites and towers, while Bluetooth® devices only work locally – a few feet away only.

On a negative note, microwave radiation has been linked to multiple issues, such as:

  • Autism
  • Miscarriages
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Hair loss
  • Cancer
  • Brain tumors

Laptop and Computer Radiation

Laptops and computers connecting wirelessly to the Internet can and will expose the user to electromagnetic fields. In other words, radio waves are released by electronic devices and tend to come up with a magnetic field around them.

When compared to cellphones, such devices are less likely to hit you right in the head, as you do keep some distance. However, the issue is more worrying for laptop users. Apart from being used on desks, laptops are often held on laps.

There are a few studies (still insignificant and not conclusive enough) regarding the effects of holding a laptop on your lap as a man (infertility and sperm damage) or as a pregnant woman (miscarriage).

Laboratory Studies

The National Toxicology Program

The National Toxicology Program is part of NIEHS and has studied the effects of radio frequency radiation on mice. The same type of radiation is used in cellphones. The results concluded that male rats can clearly develop brain tumors, while female rats are likely to. The incidence was just higher in male rats.

At the same time, some male rats developed tumors in adrenal glands.

On another hand, the studies were not 100% clear, so it is hard to tell whether these tumors are associated with the radiation used by cellphones. All these results have been thoroughly analyzed in 2018.

International Agency for Research on Cancer

The main study conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer took place in 2011. As a result, scientists classified radio frequency radiation as Group B, which means it is a potential carcinogen in people. Some of the evidence showed risks for glioma and acoustic neuroma. The study showed some evidence, but it was not conclusive enough.

Further studies were conducted, yet a whole controversy kicked in when the WHO and a few NGOs joined in, as some members of the respective boards had a conflict of interest due to being associated with the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. In other words, all the results were dismissed and considered to be pointless.

Swedish Radiation Protection Foundation

The Swedish Radiation Protection Foundation conducted a similar study in 2016, as a direct consequence of the growing number of brain cancer patients – just 827 in 1990 and 1807 (more than double) in 2015.

The study was based on other studies conducted by the Danish Cancer Registry. Most of these cases involved tumors of the brain and spinal cord cover, as well as glioma and acoustic neuroma. Since cellphone radiation contributes to these types of cancer, the study concluded that radiation can and will affect people.

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Led by Dr. Nora Volkow, the study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in the USA took place in 2011. It focused on nothing but brain activity, so other effects of cellphone radiation were not taken into consideration. 47 men were part of the study that took two days.

The results shown some connections between brain activity and the use of cellphones. Apparently, excessive radiation will affect brain activity, but it will also increase the glucose metabolism. More detailed results were mentioned in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Iranian Study

The Iranian study did not check the effects of cellphone radiation over the brain, but over sperm. It did not use cellphones, but jammers. A jammer is a device that blocks cellphones from getting a signal. Jammers are illegal, yet they are often used in cinemas or offices to prevent distraction.

The study checked the sperm of 50 healthy donors and was conducted at the Mother and Child Hospital – part of the Shiraz University of Medical Sciences. The conclusion was quite obvious – sperm was exposed to radiation and motility has seriously decreased. On the same note, DNA fragmentation was also observed. Simply put, radiation can lead to infertility in men.

Protect Yourself from Radiation

Radiation is part of everyone’s lives these days. Protecting yourself from it might look like an impossible task. While you cannot avoid it completely, the truth is you can reduce it, as well as its harsh effects. At the end of the day, almost everyone has a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone.

There are certain things you can do to mitigate risks of radiation and keep it under control. While they might seem insignificant at first, they can make the difference in the long run.

Lowering the EMF Exposure

  • Wires over wireless. Using wired connections instead of WiFi is one of the best ways to lower the EMF exposure. Whether it comes to your laptop or your computer, it might be worth reducing mobility for safety. Believe it or not, you can reduce radiation from your cellphone as well. If you are alone in a room, you can use the hands free operation instead of keeping it close to your head. Got headphones? Use them instead if you want privacy.
  • Sleeping protection. Creating a healthy sleep sanctuary helps as well. Remove all WiFi devices from your bedroom at night, but also unplug everything around you. Some people take it even further and invest in bed canopies that block microwave radiation from various devices.
  • EMF measurements. Measuring the EMF pollution in your home also pays off. There are certain meters on the market that will measure everything for you, but they will also include instructions on what is safe and what is not. This way, you can reduce radiation to a safe level – everything is measurable.
  • Blocking radiation. Unlucky enough to live close to a cellphone tower? There is not much you can do about it then, but invest in a bed canopy to block it while you sleep.
  • Education. Education is just as important. Many times, radiation may come from neighbors. Show them your meter to measure radiation and educate them on the risks of not having one. Do not make it look like it is about you, but about themselves too. This way, they might actually follow your example and reduce radiation too.

Simply put, there are ways to do it, but it is almost impossible to block it entirely. Taking less risks is definitely worth the hassle though.

Investing in an EMF Radiation Protection Device

  • Home protection devices. There are plenty of EMF radiation protection devices on the market and what works for some people may not work for everyone else. Some systems are designed for the entire house. Their main role is to reverse the effects of pollution on the body. They must be plugged in and protection will instantly kick in. Unfortunately, some brands do not provide any details about how they work. Stick to famous companies whose products are well rated and reviewed instead.
  • Specialized protection devices. Some other devices are specifically designed for particular products. For example, you can find EMF radiation protection devices for keyboards or for screens. Some of them are created for cellphones. They must be attached to the phone as a sticker and they reduce the impact over your body. Cellphone chips, neutralizers and diodes are among the most popular products. They go on microwave ovens, television sets, printers and computers too.
  • Radiation blocking products. It is worth noting that you do not necessarily need an advice. Some wall paints are designed to block radiation, not to mention bed canopies to protect you overnight. If you cannot find something for the entire house, small things may function well together, as long as you get something that actually works.

Understanding EMFs

EMFs (Electromagnetic Fields) are often misunderstood. They represent a complex topic that the average person is less likely to understand. Sure, it seems easy for someone who studies or works in such an industry, but other than that, the jargon used in guides can be overwhelming for most people.

Fortunately, you do not have to be a genius to understand what EMFs are, how they work and how they can affect your body. The more you understand, the easier it becomes to make informed decisions. So, what do you need to know about EMFs?

Overview

An EMF (Electromagnetic Field) is practically energy. It represents an energy field that is instantly created when an object is electrically charged. There are two components in an electromagnetic field. One of them is electric, while the other one is magnetic – hence the name.

The magnetic field is naturally produced by current – charges that move around. On the other hand, the electric field is established by charges that cannot move.

Sometimes referred to as electromagnetic radiation (EMR), electromagnetic fields cannot be felt, heard or seen. Only one of them can be experienced – the visible light. This is because visible light belongs to the electromagnetic spectrum.

History

The first studies about EMFs occurred in the 1960s. Dr. Milton Zaret was among the first experts to claim about the dangers of microwave radiation in 1964. He studied such effects over the vision. According to his studies, EMF radiation can cause cataract – both temporary and permanent. When his funds were cut off, he made a pretty obvious statement that this is a strong signal of what is about to happen.

Plenty of other scientists and institutions came up with research studies overtime. However, the most obvious tests took place over the last decade. There is no need to hide such information from the public, especially not today, in the age of knowledge and technology.

In the past few decades, electronic devices that could fill a whole room ended up shrinking to sizes that go into your pocket. For this reason, they make close contact with the body. The studies conducted in the last couple of decades reveal a series of negative effects. On a positive note, more and more companies invest in quality equipment to block radiation or at least reduce it. Some of these gadgets are available for residential environments too.

Notation and Units of Measurement

To most people, knowing the notation and units of measurement of EMFs is irrelevant. It is mostly a matter of education for those who work in such environments or actually study it.

All in all, assuming the electric charge Q goes through a device that does not have a resistance, it will naturally gain some energy – noted as W. Simply put, the energy achieved per unit charge is the EMF for the respective device. It is noted as W/Q.

Other similar measures follow the same principle. They all use the volt as a unit of measurement, which simply means joule per coulomb.

Formal Definitions

In physics, the EMF can be formally defined in two different ways.

Most importantly, an EMF is an energy source that will push a current. The current will then flow in a device or an electrical circuit.

The second definition refers to the rate at which energy can be drawn at the time current starts flowing through a device or an electrical circuit. It is measured in volts. A volt is also given as a joule per coulomb.

Effects

The constant exposure to radiation can have multiple effects over the human body. While there are certain tests that prove these levels are way under the safe levels (meaning they are harmless), multiple other studies show differently.

Both the long and short term exposure to an EMF can cause consequences. Avoiding radiation is almost impossible in today’s world, but there are ways to reduce it and mitigate its effects. Some of its effects are mild and less likely to affect you, but others can be quite harmful if you are exposed for long periods of time.

Brain

Even if the EMF is mild, it can still affect one’s brain if applied for a long period of time. According to tests performed on rats, the EMF can shred the DNA and lead to broken strands within the brain. While not completely obvious, scientists believe that this is the reason wherefore the EMF exposure is associated with brain tumors.

In another test, rats ended up walking in circles because the exposure to an EMF affected their sense of balance. It is less likely to happen in people though, yet the effect is still there – only at a lower scale. Practically, those who experience such issues will have to face nausea and lethargy in the long run.

The exposure to EMFs can have more devastating effects over the brain. It can change the blood flow, not to mention turning off certain groups of neurons. In more extreme situations, an EMF can cause a violent seizure, as well as losing consciousness or falling into a coma. This might be one of the reasons wherefore places under high electromagnetic fields are associated with horror and haunting stories. There is a logical explanation behind it though.

Red Blood Cells

The effects of EMFs on red blood cells imply studying the reaction of these cells under the exposure. Generally speaking, a red blood cell will lose some of the oxygen when under pressure and stress. Why? Easy – it loses electrons.

From this point of view, the prolonged exposure to EMFs can make oxygen loss a more serious problem. A random exposure will not cause too much harm, but chances are it will become quite significant if it is continuous.

The effects over the human body are quite easy to notice – brain fog, energy loss, vertigo, lightheadedness and dizziness. To make things even worse, losing oxygen off your red blood cells will boost the blood acidity as well. The discomfort might become extremely hard to deal with in certain individuals, such as those suffering from the Lyme disease.

Measuring the blood oxygen was a specialist procedure years ago. Doctors had to take a live sample and watch it under a microscope right away. Today, you can do it yourself with nothing but a finger monitor. It will measure the levels of oxygen inside your blood and may even provide other valuable data, such as the heart rate in BPM (Beats Per Minute).

Headaches

The exposure to EMFs can be repetitive and chronic, but it can also be random. Even when random, it can cause harsh headaches if it occurs at vulnerable times. Headaches associated with EMFs are not light, but they tend to be similar to migraines. They are often referred to as tension headaches.

Most patients experiencing migraines will almost never associate them with the exposure to EMFs, yet keeping this exposure under control is likely to improve symptoms. A migraine may not be life threatening, but it can easily last for hours if it is overlooked and not treated right away.

In the worst scenarios, they can be sharp and constant, but they may also expand to the eyes or neck. They can lead to lightheadedness and dizziness, sensitivity to light, flashes, vomiting, nausea and irritability. Tinnitus may also kick in – a high pitch noise in the ears, not to mention sensitivity to various sounds.

The effects of such a headache can become cognitive if it is not treated or the source is not eliminated. They can lead to concentrating difficulties, unclear thinking, heating in the head and even memory loss – short term though.

Dementia

Plenty of EMF exposure occurs due to cellphones. Practically, talking on the phone implies sticking it against your head or at least keeping it very close. As a direct consequence, radiation affects head tissues and vital elements, such as the brain. For this reason, scientists believed that the EMF exposure is one of the leading causes of dementia, especially as the number of patients keeps going up.

Multiple studies have been performed lately and results are a bit mixed. Simply put, a low level of EMF exposure is less likely to cause significant damage. On another note, in deeper research studies, it seems that medium and heavy levels of exposure are likely to increase the risks of dementia, regardless of the age. It can affect young adults, as well as old individuals. Individuals over 75 may be affected even if exposed to low levels of EMF.

There are certain work environments that boost a higher EMF exposure. Most studies are aimed at such working environments, rather than residential places. When it comes to homes, there are meters to measure the EMF radiation, as well as devices to reduce it or keep it under control.

Neurological Diseases

The constant EMF exposure was proven to cause electrical, morphological and chemical changes within the nervous system. It can do it both directly and indirectly. Most commonly, EMFs can cause oxidative stress. As a direct consequence, the antioxidant defense system is severely affected, opening the body to a series of potential affections.

Neurodegeneration is the first effect to occur. While most people will not realize what is going on, other effects will kick in – headaches, fatigue and sleep problems. In terms of actual diseases, the Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most commonly studied affection associated with regular EMF exposure. While studies are not conclusive enough, some scientists claim that epilepsy may also be triggered. Those who already suffer from it will experience more severe seizures.

Given the fact that professional studies of EMF effects have only started 10 to 20 years ago many tests are still not crystal clear and the effects are not entirely known.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are so many myths and misconceptions regarding radiation from cellphones. Most people know that there must be something bad about it, yet no one does anything regarding these effects. Some people take everything they hear for granted.

Here are some of the most common frequently asked questions regarding cellphone radiation.

Do cell phones cause brain tumors?

There are many studies checking the possibility of connections between cellphone radiation and brain tumors. Most of them target the connection between radiation and acoustic neuroma (a noncancerous brain tumor) and glioma. According to the WHO, the evidence that cellphone radiation can cause brain tumors is quite limited. However, the group agrees that EMFs can be seen as potentially carcinogenic.

Do cellphones emit harmful radiation?

Cellphones do emit radiation. It is not as severe as ionizing radiation (such as X rays), yet it can be quite harmful and may cause a series of unwanted effects. The excessive use of a cellphone can decrease bone density in the pelvic area, lead to infertility in men, cause insomnia and even affect the brain activity. This kind of radiation is known as nonionizing EMF radiation.

Do cellphones cause health problems?

Cellphones work based on radiofrequency radiation. These radio waves are nonionizing – not a severe type of radiation. Most of this radiation comes from the antenna. Whichever part of the body is closer to the antenna is exposed to this energy. In fact, it can be absorbed, leading to various health problems. Some of them are light – headaches, migraines or insomnia. Others can be quite severe and may include cancer, according to some studies.

What cellphones give off the most radiation?

According to the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection, iPhone 7 Plus has the lowest specific absorption rate (SAR) among top smartphones – 1.24 watts per kilogram. Blackberry DTEK60 follows up closely with 1.28 watts per kilogram, while ZTE Axon 7 Mini has a SAR of 1.29 watts per kilogram. Other popular smartphones in this hall of shame include:

  • iPhone 8
  • Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact
  • iPhone 7
  • Huawei P9 Lite
  • OnePlus 5

The top three smartphones with the highest specific absorption rate include Huawei Mate 9 (1.64), OnePlus 5T (1.68) and Xiaomi Mi A1 (1.75). Chinese companies dominate the chart, while the Japanese from Sony only have one model in it.

How can I protect myself from cellphone radiation?

Keep devices away from you as much as you can, especially at night. Also, you can invest in meters and protective devices.

What is the safest SAR value?

According to the FCC, 1.6W/kg is the safest SAR value for cellphone users.

How can I prevent my phone from radiation?

Every cellphone gives some radiation. Not using it is the best way to protect yourself. Keeping it in airplane mode is also a good idea.

How long does it take to get over a radiofrequency ablation?

It takes two to four weeks to get over a radiofrequency ablation.

Is it dangerous to sleep with your phone?

Yes. Having your phone nearby exposes you to radiation. Instead, try keeping it out of your bedroom while you sleep.

Can phones cause blindness?

Phones can cause cataract, but they may also affect the cornea, retina and other components of your eyes.

Can WIFI waves be harmful?

Low frequency electromagnetic radiation is given off by multiple devices – wireless devices included, not to mention Bluetooth devices. The level is said to be potentially dangerous.

Do phones give off radiation when turned off?

Older cellphones will stop emitting radiation when turned off. Newer ones will still maintain certain functions. Smartphones continue performing even when turned off, so they still give off radiation. The levels of radiation emitted depend on the manufacturer and phone model.

How can I reduce my phone radiation?

Keeping the cellphone away from yourself is the key to reduce radiation. Do not keep it in your pocket against the body. Instead, leave it on a table, so you can still hear it. Talking on the phone can cause more problems than having the phone nearby. Ideally, you should use the speaker mode – hands free – or a wired headset.

On another note, the more you keep it in the airplane mode, the less radiation it will emit.

Summary

Bottom line, a little education can work a long way in making healthier decisions.

  • Devices using wireless technologies will emit radiation – cellphones included.
  • There are plenty of studies to link cellphone radiation and various diseases – mild health problems to severe diseases.
  • Most studies are not conclusive enough, yet they provide enough details regarding the effects of radiation.
  • While almost impossible to avoid, radiation can be reduced through a series of safety measures.

Sources

https://www.fcc.gov/

https://electronics.howstuffworks.com/cell-phone-radiation.htm

https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/cellphones/index.cfm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5504984/

https://www.stralskyddsstiftelsen.se/english/

https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/podcasts/2011/02/dr-nora-volkow-to-discuss-jama-paper-effects-cell-phone-radiofrequency-signal-exposure-brain-glucose

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5925203/

http://www.next-up.org/pdf/EMFs_and_changes_in_the_Complete_Blood_Count.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2954236/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27083321

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3444040/#sec3title

https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/radiation/cell-phones-fact-sheet

https://www.statista.com/chart/12797/the-phones-emitting-the-most-radiation/