Cell phones or mobile phones are essential parts of contemporary telecommunications and ingrained into every individual’s social life. In fact, it has become an extended version of oneself.
Because the cell phone market is growing very rapidly as a result of its widespread use, it is estimated that over five billion people globally use cell phones. In spite of its innumerable benefits, the sad reality is that with the increase of cell phones and cell phone users, there are plausible health risks and long term adverse effects on health of the general public.
ASSOCIATED HEALTH EFFECTS OF CELL PHONES
It is imperative to understand how cell phones work and the health risks and possible effects of cell phone usage.
Basically, cell phones communicate with base stations using radio frequency (RF) radiation. These base stations are a network of fixed antennas that receive the radio waves transmitted by the cell phone and in the course of that action; they (cell phones) emit something called radio frequency energy. This is a form of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation which can be absorbed by some tissues close to the cell phone. These radio frequency radiation waves are also electromagnetic fields that can neither break chemical bonds nor cause ionization in the human body like ionizing radiation such as X-rays or gamma rays.
Now, this radio frequency radiation when high enough raises the body temperature. Interaction between RF radiation and the human body often results in tissue heating simply because the frequencies used by cell phones produces the RF energy and this energy is absorbed by the skin and other surface tissues, the corollary being a significant rise of temperature in the brain or other organs in the body.
Although a number of studies have conducted investigations into the effects of radiofrequency radiation fields on the brain electrical activity, sleep, heart rate, cognitive function and blood pressure in various individuals, there is no empirical evidence to date that suggests any adverse health effects from exposure to RF radiation at low levels that do not cause tissue heating. Further research has not been able to provide support for a causal relationship between exposure to electromagnetic fields and self-reported symptoms, or “electromagnetic hypersensitivity”.
For the sake of your health as a phone user, pay attention to the following factors that determine the amount of radiofrequency energy your cell phone exposes you to:
- the phone’s technology
- distance between the user and the phone
- type of cell phone used
- distance of the users from cell phone towers
- number of cell phone calls daily
- duration of each of these calls
- how long people use cell phones
6 EFFECTS OF CELL PHONES ON THE HEALTH
It Affects Eyesight:
Staring at or operating your cell phone for a long period of time can induce headaches and tired eyes. There is a short wavelength blue light that cell phones emit that the cornea and lens cannot filter. This blue light goes all the way to the back of the eye which weakens vision overtime and may damage the cornea and impact vision. The blue light and other types of screen also cause eye strain and pain so when you experience any of these vision problems, it’s very imperative that you minimize your use of cell phone and generally take a break from its frequently usage.
Exposure to Germs:
Studies have found that there are high levels of bacteria found on the surface of cell phones and germs on cell phone screens range from streptococcus, E. coli, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and many more. If you think about it, an individual touches many things in a day and operates a cell phone more than 52 times in a day, so that gives an idea of how frequently germs you pick up from various things transfer onto your phone’s surface. On this note, it is advised that you disinfect your phone as many times as possible, at least once daily, in order to eliminate surface build-up of dust, dirt and germs. You can do this by wiping your phone with a sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, microfiber cloth dipped in a mixture of alcohol and water or alcohol-based wipes that are very safe to use on electronics.
It can cause Harm to your Spine and Neck:
Do you know that consistently looking down at your screen can actually misalign your neck? There’s something Dean Fishman, a chiropractic physician calls the “text neck” which means “the overuse syndrome involving the head, neck and shoulders, usually resulting from excessive strain on the spine from looking in a forward and downward position at any hand held mobile device.”
Looking down at your cell phone for an extended period of time puts a lot of strain on your neck. The reason for the strain is that every time you put your head in a forward posture, it increases the weight of the head on your spine by 4.5 kg. This can result to headaches, neck pain, shoulder and arm pain. Text neck can be avoided by straightening your posture and raising your phone to eye level.
It could affect Sleep:
People who use their phones just before going to bed have a harder time falling asleep than those who abstain from screen time. They also experience difficulty in staying asleep and the general quality of sleep decreases. Although phone screens have a negative impact on sleep, a poor night sleep would lead to an increased usage of cell phones. It’s very easy to snatch your cell phone and start surfing the internet when restless but this would definitely stop you from having some quality slumber time. More so, looking at your phone screen actually stimulates the brain and engages your mind making it more difficult to sleep at night.
Possibility of Cancer:
There is no evidence from epidemiological studies that show a link between cell phone use and conditions such as cancer but a study from MD Anderson Cancer Center suggests that children have the possibility of being at greater risk of developing brain cancer from cell phones than adults. For those who have concerns about the radiation emitted by cell phones, limit the length of time you use cell phones and minimize your exposure to phone radiation by using speaker or headset mode while talking on the phone.
- Car Accidents:
It is not safe to talk on the cell phone while driving even if you are using a hands-free attachment. Talking on the phone while driving leads to cognitive distraction. It’s the type of distraction that takes your mind off the road automatically. The reason is because as human beings, the eyes and brain perceive what’s around more significantly. Thus, when you’re on the phone and driving, you really don’t see your environment nor really navigate it properly. This accounts for the increased risk in car accidents while driving. So, if you must make or take a phone call while driving, endeavor to pull over by the roadside.
In conclusion, though there may be no evidence of the direct relationship between radiofrequency radiation and our health, there are indirect health risks associated with using cell phones. Depending on how we use our devices, they can cause serious illness, disability or even death in the case of a fatal accident due to distracted driving.
Medical Disclaimer: KompleteCare™ aims to improve the quality of life for everyone with fact-based content about the nature of diseases, preventive care, behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.