Belgium recently adopted new cell phone regulations that bar mobile phone models designed for, and marketed to children ages 7 and younger. Under Belgium’s new rules, slated to take effect next March, cell phone retailers will be required to disclose phones’ maximum emission levels, known as specific absorption rates, or SAR, at the point of sale. Belgium becomes the latest in a rapidly lengthening list of nations to attempt to shield children from too much cell phone radiation and to inform everyone about the risks of exposure to these emissions. At least a dozen other nations have taken steps to protect children from cell phone radiation.
7. Keep it locked. “Make sure that you have a secret PIN (personal identification number), a password, fingerprint setting or other security measures in place so that only you can access your phone.” – National Cyber Security Alliance, June is Internet Safety Month! The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and ConnectSafely Share Tips to Ensure Online Safety and Summertime Fun, PR Newswire; Twitter: @PRNewswire
There is an alternative approach, rooted in what some scientists and ethicists call the “precautionary principle,” which holds that society doesn’t need absolute proof of hazard to place limits on a given technology. If the evidence is sufficiently solid and the risks sufficiently great, the precautionary principle calls for delaying the deployment of that technology until further research clarifies its impacts. The scientists’ petition discussed earlier urges government regulators to apply the precautionary principle to 5G technology. Current safety guidelines “protect industry—not health,” contends the petition, which “recommend[s] a moratorium on the roll-out of [5G]…until potential hazards for human health and the environment have been fully investigated by scientists independent from industry.”54
Exposure to ionizing radiation, such as from x-rays, is known to increase the risk of cancer. However, although many studies have examined the potential health effects of non-ionizing radiation from radar, microwave ovens, cell phones, and other sources, there is currently no consistent evidence that non-ionizing radiation increases cancer risk in humans (2).
In those cases, however, there are two important things to note. The person exposed to the non-ionizing microwave radiation would be exposed to a very high power dose at a very close range. The magnetron in your average consumer microwave produces about 700 watts of microwave energy, and that microwave discharge is safely contained within the body of the microwave thanks to proper shielding. Even if the microwave was malfunctioning and the shielding was beginning to fail, you wouldn’t even feel anything standing in the same room as the device.
Wireless devices run on radio waves. Antennas emit varying levels of radio frequencies (RFs) that at some point are absorbed into the human body. The measurement of absorption, the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), is an indicator of this absorption. What’s the SAR of a cell phone? The FCC requires that all models of cell phones sold in the U.S. fall below 1.6 watts per kilogram. If you’re confused by the complex science, you’re not alone.
In 2008, the most surprising news article reported that Dr. Ronald Herbermann, the director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, advised his 3,000 faculty and staff to keep the cell phone away from the head by using a headset and to keep children from using cell phones except in emergencies. He cites unpublished scientific studies as the source of his concern.
Thus far, the data from studies in children with cancer do not support this theory. The first published analysis came from a large case–control study called CEFALO, which was conducted in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Switzerland. The study included children who were diagnosed with brain tumors between 2004 and 2008, when their ages ranged from 7 to 19 years. Researchers did not find an association between cell phone use and brain tumor risk either by time since initiation of use, amount of use, or by the location of the tumor (21).
The most compelling evidence though comes from a Swedish team of cancer experts whose research stretches back 15 years. The results clearly demonstrate “a consistent association between long-term use of cell phone and cordless phones and glioma and acoustic neuroma”. Overall, they found that using a cell phone for more than a decade significantly increases the risk of a malignant tumour by almost two times with an analogue cell phone and by nearly four times with a digital phone. Interestingly, the risks were even higher for people who had started using mobiles as teenagers.