This article is the fourth part in a series of articles titled ’7 disadvantages of mobile phones’. The first three parts:
- Mobile Phone Disadvantage #1 – An Unsafe Safety Standard
- Mobile Phone Disadvantage #2 – Negative Health Effects
- Mobile Phone Disadvantage #3 – Cause of Infertility in Man
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 radiation will also be referred to as microwave radiation, Radio Frequency radiation, RF Radiation, and electro magnetic radiation.
Mobile Phone Disadvantage #4 – The Effect on Children
The health effects of mobile phone radiation on children is very worrisome. All government reports and many scientific studies that are referred to in this article emphasize that children are more vulnerable than adults. In ‘How Exposure to Mobile Phone Base-Station Signals Can Adversely Affect Humans’, Dr Hyland explains why children are more vulnerable:
Preadolescent children are more vulnerable [to microwave radiation] because of their thinner skulls, their still developing nervous systems, their increased levels of cell division, and their less robust immune systems.
Children that grow up in our new mobile phone world are exposed to microwave radiation from the moment they are in the womb. However, the effects of microwave radiation on infants is unknown to most parents. The Stewart Report is a report commissioned by the British Parliament in response to fears that mobile phone use could be linked to memory loss, and even Alzheimer’s Disease. It explains the effect of mobile phone radiation on children:
A one year old could absorb around double [the radio frequency (RF) radiation], and a five year old around 60%, more than an adult. Additionally, since children are being exposed to RF radiation from base stations (and from mobile phones) from a younger age than adults, they will have a longer time in which to accumulate exposure over the course of their lives, and a longer time for any delayed effects of exposure to develop.
Anybody who gets a signal on their mobile phone in their home, is in the vicinity of a mobile phone base tower. How close are you to the base station? The answer to this question will likely impact your family’s health, especially if you live within 400 meters of a base station.
A German study published in 2004 titled ‘The Influence of Being Physically Near to a Cell Phone Transmission Mast on the Incidence of Cancer’, showed a 3 times higher risk of developing cancer for people who lived within 400 meters of a cell phone tower for a period of five years. A similar Spanish study found that people living in the close vicinity of a cell phone tower had the following health problems :
- Depression increased by up to 64-fold.
- Fatigue increased by up to 37-fold.
- Appetite Loss increased by up to 25-fold.
Those health effects apply to adults, children can be expected to have even more severe health issues due to the increased absorption of the same radiation levels.
The health impact of RF radiation needs more research. In my opinion, one of the reasons that this is not happing is the enormous economical value that is associated with mobile communication industry and the connectivity it provides. However, both brain cancer and leukemia have been associated with microwave radiation . Keeping this and the explosive growth of mobile phones in mind, one wonders what the connection is between RF radiation and these cancers. According to the US Natural Resources Defence Council:
[Leukemia] is the most common cancer in children, responsible for more deaths than any other form of childhood cancer. From 1977 to 1995, U.S. rates of childhood leukemia rose about 1 percent each year. [20% increase over a 18 year period]
…Cancers of the central nervous system are the second most common form of cancer in children. These cancers, which may involve the brain or the spinal cord, are most common in children under seven. Childhood brain cancers have been increasing: from 1973 to 1994, the number of reported brain cancers in children under 15 increased 1.8 percent each year [45% increase over a 21 year period]. 
The association between mobile phones and childhood cancer is considered extreme by some. However, a recent study mention in Mobile Phone Disadvantage #2 – Negative Health Effects has linked mouth cancer in adults to mobile phone , other recent studies make the link between mobile phone use and male infertility (see Mobile Phone Disadvantage #3 – Cause of Infertility in Man). When you consider the children’s increased absorption of RF radiation, the childhood cancer link seems a realistic option.
This video talks about the link between mobile phone use and brain cancer, with a focus on children:
Under ‘Mobile Phone Disadvantage #2 – Negative Health Effects’, there was mention of the ‘abundance of dead brain cells’ that the researchers found 50 days after 2 hours of exposure to mobile phone microwave radiation. In a 2003 paper, the researchers emphasized their concern about the impact of microwave radiation on children and teenagers:
The situation of the growing brain might deserve special concern …The intense use of mobile phones by youngsters is a serious consideration. A neuronal damage of the kind described here [dead brain cells after 50 days] may not have immediately demonstrable consequences, even if repeated. In the long run, however, it may result in reduced brain reserve capacity that might be unveiled by other neuronal disease or even the wear and tear of aging.
Potential brain damage as a result of mobile phone use was one of the big motivators for the Stewart report. It encourages the precautionary approach, especially when it comes to children:
In line with our precautionary approach, we believe that the widespread use of mobile phones by children for non-essential calls should be discouraged. We also recommend that the mobile phone industry should refrain from promoting the use of mobile phones by children.
RF radiation is a proven health risk, especially children should have minimal exposure. The final article in this series will discuss preventative measures in detail, but the obvious steps that a parent can take to minimize their children’s exposure to RF radiation are:
- Do not allow your children to use a cell phone, unless there is an emergency
- Limit the use of mobile phones around children to a minimum
- Ensure there is no cell phone mast in the vicinity of your home and your child’s school
- Send this article and similar information to adults that spend time with your children, especially teachers and other parents
In conclusion, the radiation caused by mobile phones and mobile phone masts has a negative effect on the health of children. Most studies have only looked into the (relatively) short term effects. The long term effects of continuous exposure to microwave radiation, starting from the earliest beginning (see Mobile Phone Disadvantage #3 – Cause of Infertility in Man) are unknown.
Not too long ago it was normal for adults to smoke around children. Today, many consider smoking around around children highly irresponsible. The same mentality and caution should be used when it comes to the use of mobile phones by children and around children.
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