First, what are cell phones? Cell phones, mobile phones, cellular phones or can be shortened to mobiles, or just phones, is a portable device which can send and receive calls and messages through a radio frequency link where the user is within a telephone service area. These simple devices have become a predominant part of people’s everyday lives. However, consumers are not aware of the possible dangers of a phone that could affect their body, so in this report I will explain both arguments of whether phones are dangerous or not, how effective/hazardous modern phones are compared to phones used in the past and solutions to resolve these problems and make phones safer.
To fully understand whether cell phones are dangerous or not, we need to understand background information which enables them to work and transmit messages from A to B.
The Electromagnetic Spectrum is the entire range of frequencies and wavelengths (λ) of electromagnetic radiation consisting of radio waves, microwaves, visible light, Infrared lights, Ultraviolet light, X-rays, and Gamma rays.
With the spectrum varying between electric and magnetic fields, radio waves have the highest wavelengths and the lowest frequency, while gamma rays have the opposite, having the lowest wavelength and the highest frequencies. Using the E.M spectrum means that the higher the frequency, the higher the amount of energy inside of these waves. This also means that the higher the energy, the higher the chances of that wavelength being dangerous.
When the term ‘Energy’ is being used in respect to this report, it would be used to measure how dangerous electromagnetic waves and radiation are. Ionizing radiation is when radiation has enough energy to interact with Atoms and molecules, it can remove tight bound electrons from the structure of an Atom causing the Atom to become charged or ionized. Waves with low amounts of energy are known as non-ionizing radiation meaning that they do not have enough energy to ionize atoms and molecules. This also means that they do present any danger to human beings, and their proactive abilities. Waves with high amounts of energy are known as ionizing radiation (being the exact opposite of the non-ionizing), and have enough energy to ionize Atoms and molecules. High-energy radiation has the potential to eliminate the nucleus of atoms, causing more damage through a release of more energy.
So, how do cell phones work?
For us to understand the context of what cell phones use to communicate and function, cell phones are devices for a user which resemble a radio. This is because they have transmitters and receivers, which we as users need to find to communicate with one another. For cell phones to emit messages from one place to another, we need to know the wavelength of radio waves and microwaves.
Radio waves are a type of electromagnetic radiation with a length longer than infrared light. Radio waves operate within frequencies from 300 GHz to as low as 3KHz. They can correspond to wavelengths of 1 millimeter to 100 kilometers. Microwaves are electromagnetic with a wavelength longer than 1 Terahertz but are shorter than radio waves. Microwaves have wavelengths that approximately range from frequencies of 1GHz to 300 GHz. These waves can respond from 30 centimeters to 1 millimeter. Cell phones transmit through clearly defined frequencies. Phones use transmission waves ranging from 800 – 2400 MHz, so in conclusion, mobile phones use radio waves and microwaves as they operate through a similar frequency that can transmit to long distances. Radio waves pass through our bodies all the time, not just when we are next to a cell phone.
Cell phone infrastructure consists of sending encoded messages to one another; however, people do not know the full context of how messages are sent to specific people. This is performed by Cellular systems.
Before cellular systems were introduced, phones would communicate by early wireless systems which possessed high-powered transmitters, covering service areas entirely. Research showed that using these systems required large amounts of power and was not suitable for many practical reasons. This stood as a problem until the cellular system had replaced the large service area with hexagonal cells with a single base station (BS), which only covered fractions of the area for wireless devices. Since cellular systems have taken over early systems, this means cell phone companies must put in many transmitter towers for efficient and optimal use of communication through phones for users. Placing these cell phone towers will not only affect us, but the environment around us, as we place these transmitter towers, it will become a negative impact as companies scatter towers around our landscape. Cell phone companies do all of this due to their want of the best infrastructure of transmitter towers, as an attempt to regain control of the cell phone industry. The company’s show greed through their cluelessness of what impact they are having to the environment.
Human bodies absorb a dose of 0.62 rem each year of radiation. If human beings are exposed to large doses of radiation, many dangers affecting the body will follow. An example of a danger would be if non-ionizing radiation is focussed on a specific point, the body will absorb the radiation into human tissue causing burns externally. The sudden increases of energy leads to increases of high-energy radiation, also known as ionizing radiation. In reference to the Electromagnetic spectrum, ionizing radiation has the ability to interact and eliminate molecules, atoms and nuclei, resulting in releases of high amounts of energy, affecting the neighboring human tissue. Amongst the tissue and body cells, the most sensitive to radiation are spermatogonia ( a male germ cell which is in the process of male cell maturity) Erythroblasts (immature red blood cells that contain nucleus), epidermal stem cells ( stem cells that are found on the surface of the skin) and gastrointestinal stem cells (These are stem cells that are found in our gastrointestinal tract. If these sensitive tissues and cells are affected, it can cause sterility in men (men will not be able to produce offspring), low blood pressure, vomiting blood, hair loss and diarrhea. On average, humans in america absorb a radiation dose of 0.62 rem (620 milirems) each year, and the safe limit for adult absorption of radiation would be 300 rem. Radiation consists of natural background radiation, and most of the radiation coming from Radon gases in the air, other cosmic gases and the earth. For these dangers to take effect on your body, you must absorb 5,000 milirems or 500 rems of radiation, 4.75 more than the average american’s intake for a year. Clinical studies indicate no positive or negative health of cell phones beyond the distraction effect.
As said in the previous paragraph, safe levels of radiation absorption from cell phones is 300 rem. This means that cell phone wave signals that emit radiation are too low to interact and tamper with the body’s atoms and molecular bonds (evidence that support cell phones are safe). In terms of the magnetic field, the average human being would have to intake 10-9 Gauss which means instant death. However, since our magnetic field strength is low, the strength will begin to diminish and prevent deep piercing into our tissues.
This argument consists of some of a party claiming that cell phones are dangerous by compiling evidence using the experiments of rats. Rats and mice were used as experiments because they have similar biological DNA to humans, meaning they can be tested as useful indicators of possible health risks in place of human beings. Experiments were focused on radiation exposure and how much cell phones may emit to cause harm to the tissue and our internal makeup. Rats can represent how many doses of radiation we take in to an average phone user’s screen time. An example of the debate is the argument between Wheeler and George Carlo. During this debate, Wheeler had supported the ‘cell phones are safe’ argument and Carlo supported the ‘cell phones are dangerous’ party. Carlo had continuously researched intently towards the dangers of cell phones and our brain, and came across evidence on 7th October 1999, sending letters to other companies emphasizing that WTR’s research had found the following: the risk of rare “neuroepithelial tumours on the outside of the brain has more than doubled… in cell phone users.” Carlo believes that there is a correlation between brain tumours on the right side and phone calls being taken on the right side of the brain.
However, The opposing party that claims that cell phones are not dangerous disagree with this statement as there is insufficient evidence and research attempts to prove otherwise. Epidemiologic research has been conducted investigating whether people have a relationship between us and cell phones and whether this can cause Malignant (cancerous) tumours (an example may be germ cell tumours) and benign tumours (non-cancerous). This experiment was carried out in 13 countries, to analyse how many people would get head and neck tumours from cell phones on a daily basis. This was conducted from 2004 to 2018. Results from this investigation indicate that from the statistics accumulated, people have not shown any significant increases in our brain or anywhere else relating to high amounts of cell phone use. Studies indicate there are long-term risks, but we need more data on intense, sustained usage, and with this regulatory agencies have concluded cell phones are safe.
I believe the viewpoint George Carlo presented as an argument to say that cell phones are dangerous was built on outdated research done in 1999, judged on older phones which may have had increased risks compared to today’s modernized phones. This fact alone could take down any hope of Carlo having a chance against the other party. Another flaw Carlo possessed was that he had initially built his argument on the misconception that radiation affects your body and can cause cancer, therefore, he conducted research (which was outdated) and received results from a single country which did not produce solid evidence to be discovered in the set timeframe. I believe that Carlo can strengthen his viewpoint by providing evidence which implies to more than one country, that way Carlo can aim to back up his party with legible evidence, applying to different people as everyone is different.
On the other hand, I believe that the viewpoint provided by the ‘National Cancer Institute’ had approached and handled the argument well, considering the large scale of their conducted research. The organization had applied their research to a wide variety of people from many nations, rather than only conducting the research on one nation. I do believe that their research could have minor flaws, however it does not affect the results of achieving this information, only the period of time it may have taken to collect it. In my opinion, I feel that the National Cancer Institute had a better, well structured plan, the research represented challenges that were faced during execution, it was fair for both parties and included the comparison of risks between old and modern cellular phones. I believe that this party could have improved their viewpoint by adding self conducted research to strengthen their argument, and implement this into more of an in depth argument, because they would have explicit evidence to defend their viewpoint.
In conclusion, based on the information in this report, I believe that it is safe to say that cellular phones are safe to use, as they do not affect the body in any way. This is due to frequencies having insufficient energy to tamper or interact with the bonds of atoms and molecules within our bodies, meaning that cell phones possess non-ionizing radiation. As mentioned in the Electromagnetic spectrum, the higher the wavelength, the lower the frequency rendering the waves to be harmless to our bodies. Meaning that the higher the frequency, the lower the wavelength rendering this radiation to be dangerous.