Solutions for mobile phone radiation

Did you know that we’re being exposed to more radiation from our mobile phones than is really necessary?

In a paper published earlier this month, scientists from the International Commission on the Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields (ICBE-EMF) explained that, by implementing simple engineering adjustments, the amount of radiofrequency (wireless) radiation that these phones emit could be reduced dramatically. And so could our exposure.

The authors explain why reducing our exposure is so important.

‘Epidemiological [population] studies have reported significant associations between exposure to RFR [radiofrequency radiation] and increased risks of glioma, acoustic neuroma, and thyroid cancer, among others. Numerous peer-reviewed studies on cell phones indicate that prolonged use leads to glioma as well as acoustic neuroma,’ they say. And children are particularly vulnerable, not just because they are more exposed to mobile phone radiation than adults, but they have a potential lifetime of exposure.

They also point out that people throughout the world are hypersensitive to this radiation, which has been found to affect animals and the environment too.

Further, international standards and guidelines supposed to protect the public and workers are inadequate for the task. ‘The safety limits promoted by the IEEE [Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers] and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) have been adopted by many nations despite the fact that these limits were only aimed at protecting workers and the public from acute heating effects of RFR. These limits ignored the non-thermal interactions between RFR fields and the free electric charges present within living tissues,’ the authors say.

But solutions are available.

The paper outlines six engineering solutions that could reduce people’s exposure and that could be easily implemented.

  1. Use existing body sensors in Android and iPhone devices to detect when the mobile phone is near the body and automatically turn off emissions. This would encourage users to hold the phone at a distance from the ear, dramatically reducing their exposure.
  2. Install existing technology—already patented by many mobile phone manufacturers—underneath antennas. This could conserve battery power and reduce exposure between 2 and 100 times.
  3. Program mobile phone software to choose Wi-Fi for calling whenever it is available. This would reduce the transmitting power of the phone from 0.6 – 3 watts to connect via a phone tower to 0.1 watts to connect via Wi-Fi. It would also extend battery life.
  4. Reduce “handshake” transmissions (that allow mobile phone towers to track phone locations) by eliminating them when the user and their phone are not moving. The phone’s built-in GPS and accelerometer make reducing handshakes possible by tracking changes in location and motion.
  5. Program mobile phones to default to airplane mode when the phone is not being used. This would reduce exposure and conserve power. [Please note that airplane mode does not always turn off wireless radiation in Australia. Ed]
  6. Install software to limit the duration of mobile phone calls. 

‘Given the growing evidence of the health effects of radiation from cellphones and cell towers, I believe the wireless industry is going to have to start competing on safety,’ said Joel Moskowitz, one of the authors of the paper. ‘This competition for safety can move forward without a change in the current government standards,’ he explained. ‘Ultimately, I believe governments around the world will be playing catch-up with industry and consumers.’

Héroux, P.; Belyaev, I.; Chamberlin, K.; Dasdag, S.; De Salles, A.A.A.; Rodriguez, C.E.F.; Hardell, L.; Kelley, E.; Kesari, K.K.; Mallery-Blythe, E.; Melnick, R.L.; Miller, A.B.; Moskowitz, J.M.; on behalf of the International Commission on the Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields (ICBE-EMF). Cell Phone Radiation Exposure Limits and Engineering Solutions. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20, 5398

You can see more about the ICBE-EMF here

And take a look at these infographics here and here that you can post to your friends.

What can you do?

What else can you do?

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  • see the latest news in our March/April newsletter EMR and Health here
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