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How can mobile phones be harmful to health?

Q: How do mobile phone radiations cause harm to human health? Does it kill our neurons and decrease our memory leading to early Alzheimer's disease? Does it cause harm only while talking or even when its in the pocket, or bag or the room? I am really worried and I have developed a phobia of losing memory. I don't talk much on the mobile but frequently use it for messaging and listening to radio. I keep it in my room where the doors and windows are usually closed. Will this worsen the situation?Will keeping door and windows open and keeping the mobile near the window reduce the risk? My mobile phone also has a camera, GPRS and infra red facility. Will this increase the risk? What precautions should I take? What are the measures to increase memory or avoid losing memory besides not having mobiles?

A:Electromagnetic radiation (waves) are produced by the motion of electrically charged particles and are so called because they radiate from the electrically charged particles. They are a stream of photons travelling at the speed of light and can travel through empty space as well as through air and other substances. Each photon contains a certain amount of energy. The only difference between the various types of electromagnetic radiation is the amount of energy found in the photons. Radio waves, microwaves, visible light, and x-rays are all examples of electromagnetic waves that differ from each other in wavelength. Radio waves have photons with low energies, microwaves have a little more energy than radio waves, infrared has still more, then visible, ultraviolet, X-rays, and the highest energy is in gamma-rays. Mobile phones use electromagnetic waves in the microwave range. The rate at which radiation is absorbed by the human body is measured by the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), and its maximum levels for modern handsets have been set by governmental regulating agencies in many countries which limit it to 1.6 W/kg for most parts of the body. Contradictory reports keep getting published regarding the health risks of electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones. Most epidemiological studies have not found any clear indication of short or medium term health hazards but there is extensive literature on non-thermal effects of weak microwave radiation on biological tissue in animal models. Animal studies have shown that it may affect the growth of certain tumours, cell death, increased permeability of the blood-brain barrier, DNA damage etc. which suggest the possibility of adverse health effects in humans. Thermal effect includes heating effect on the head surface. One study in Sweden suggested that continuous use of a mobile phone for a decade or longer can lead to a small increase in the probability of getting acoustic neuroma, a type of brain tumour but the overall effect was not statistically significant. Non-thermal effects include DNA damage, chromosomal alterations and enhanced cell division but not all studies have shown this. While research abounds and some tests have shown that cell phone radio frequency (RF) could accelerate cancer in laboratory animals, the studies have not been replicated and there is currently no scientific evidence to suggest that mobile phones pose a risk to health.


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