This article is the second part in a series of articles titled ‘7 disadvantages of mobile phones’. Please click here to read the first part, titled ‘Mobile Phone Disadvantage #1 – An Unsafe Safety Standard‘.
In case you have not read the first part Unsafe Safety Standard:
Mobile phones transmit and receive Radio Frequency (RF) signals in order to communicate. The RF signals from mobile phones fall within the microwave part of the electromagnetic spectrum. This radiation is also referred to as microwave radiation or electromagnetic radiation.
In short: Mobile phones use microwave radiation to communicate.
Mobile Phone Disadvantage #2 – Negative Health Effects
Most media reports would have you believe that research studies on the negative health effects of mobile phones use are few and far between. This article will provide several studies on the different health effects to illustrate that the information is out there, and has been out there for years. In fact, many reports on the health risks of mobile phones have been published over the last few decades.
A study led by Dr Agarwal, Ph.D summarizes some of the researched health consequences of the microwave radiation we are exposed to though mobile phone use:
Electromagnetic waves alter [electric activity of the brain] and cause disturbance in sleep ; cause difficulty in concentration, fatigue, and headache ; and increase reaction time in a time-dependent manner . They increase the resting blood pressure  and reduce the production of melatonin . They are also implicated in DNA strand breaks . 
In addition, the use of mobile phones has also been related to Alzheimer’s Disease and Cancer.
A study by Swedish researchers suggests the link between mobile phone use and Alzheimer’s Disease:
Mobile phones damage key brain cells and could trigger the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease. …Researchers have found that radiation from mobile phone handsets damages areas of the brain associated with learning, memory and movement. 
This study was performed on rats, which were exposed to radiation equivalent to that of a cell phone for only two hours. The brains were examined after 50 days, and the researchers found an abundance of dead brain cells in the exposed rats.
The development state of the rat brains that were used are similar to the development state of a teenager’s brain.  The researchers emphasized the worrisome impact that mobile phone use has on the developing brain of a teenager.
Furthermore, studies have linked mobile phone use with brain cancer, mouth cancer and leukemia. Most recently, the American Journal of Epidemiology published a study from research author Dr. Siegal Sadetzki, a cancer specialist at Tel Aviv University . The Telegraph published an article about this study and summarized:
People who use a mobile phone for hours a day are 50 per cent more likely to develop mouth cancer than those who do not talk on them at all, new research has shown.
In 2002, Hardell et al published a study titled ‘Cellular and cordless telephones and the risk for brain tumours’ in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention. As stated on Dr Mercola’s website:
[Hardell et al] found that people who used cell phones were two and a half times more likely to have a temporal brain tumor on the side of the head where they held their phone.
In the case of tumors of the auditory nerve, which connects the ear to the brain, the risk increased to more than three times for mobile phone users. 
The relationship between mobile phone use and diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer are controversial, but discussed more as different research continues to conclude that the link between mobile phone use and Alzheimer’s/cancer exists. On most news broadcasts we are told to not worry since more ‘research is needed’ because the results are ‘not conclusive’. In my opinion, more research is always needed, and scientific results are never conclusive to everybody due to the very nature of science.
Studies that claim a relationship between mobile phones and diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s should not be brushed aside as ‘inconclusive’. Cancer incidences have exploded over the last few decades, and a large part of the increase in occurrences cannot be explained. Environmental influences seem a logical contributor, and microwave radiation used for mobile phone communication is one of the environmental influences that has grown exponentially over the last two decades.
What does the US government have to say on the health effects of mobile phone use? Below is a section from the ‘US Department of Labor’ website on the health effects of radiofrequency (RF) and microwave radiation caused by mobile phone use:
Electric and magnetic fields are complex physical agents whose potential health effects are the subject of much research. Particularly controversial are the biophysical mechanisms by which these RF fields may affect biological systems. General health effects reviews explore possible carcinogenic, reproductive and neurological effects. Health effects by exposure source are noted in radar traffic devices, wireless communications with cellular phones, radio transmission, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
In conclusion, more research is always needed to understand the full extend of the health implications that come with microwave radiation. However, there has been enough research to prove the link between mobile phone use and negative health effects from relatively mild symptoms like sleep disturbance to cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease.
The next article will look into another very profound and current disadvantage of mobile phone use:
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