Cell phones emit radiation. Some studies insist it is nothing to worry about. Others link it to devastating diseases like cancer. Many present inconclusive data. An environmental activist group reviewed the body of research and sees worrying gaps in knowledge about the impact of long-term exposure. It recommends buying lower-emission phones and taking precautions against prolonged exposure until more is known. A cautious line to a possible danger adds up to an ergonomic approach.
Agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission and the Food and Drug Administration point out that there is no proven health risk posed by cell phones. In a September news release, the Environmental Working Group cautioned that the agencies relied on short-term studies that looked at risks over a three-year span. The Washington DC-based non-profit argues that the studies it reviewed find significantly higher risks for brain and salivary gland tumors among people using cell phones for 10 years or longer,” adding that the science “is provocative and troubling, and much more research is essential.”
EWG points out that basic precautions like using hands-free headsets and texting more than talking are already being used.
Pew Internet and American Life Project surveys say that 70 percent of children 12 to 17 use cell phones daily. EWG argues that particular danger could lie in wait for youngsters. The group cites researchers who say children are likely to be more susceptible than adults to effects from cell phone radiation, since the brain of a child is still developing and its nervous tissues absorb a greater portion of incoming radiation compared to that of an adult.
To help consumers choose lower-emission models, EWG publishes on its website a ranking-by-emissions of some 1200 cell phones. The two lowest radiation emitters were the Samsung Impression and the Motorola RAZR V8. Because the rankings revealed a wide variety of radiation emissions, which it measures as the specific absorption rate (SAR), the organization has called for these levels to be publicized at the point of sale.
Source: Environmental Working Group