Are You Sure You Want to Pick That Up?
According to some neurologists and researchers, society should be asking itself this question every time they answer a call or hold a cell phone up to their head. Nowadays, cell phones are becoming an essential tool for modern life, whether it is the businessperson whose phone keeps him connected to his office and clients or the teenager who has a cell phone for recreational purposes. Cell phones present their users with the opportunity to contact their family and friends and provide faster contact in the event of an emergency. Aside from that, women also feel safer carrying a cell phone while traveling alone in order to avoid an assault or rape. Although the cell phone presents itself as being helpful in these different circumstances, could it be a silent killer? In 1984, society would begin its technological evolution with the first cell phone being released to the public. They used to weigh over two pounds, cost thousands of dollars and have a battery life of an hour. Since then, it has only been good news for the cellular industry. That original two pound phone has now evolved into weighing four ounces, costing $99, having up to ten hours of battery life, having the capability of texting as well as calling nationally and internationally, taking and recording images (and sounds), and even browsing the web. With the decrease in cost and all the added benefits, more and more people each year purchase a cell phone. Right now it is estimated that approximately “five billion people worldwide have a cell phone subscription” (CNET Reviews). The drastic increase of cell phones has caused scientists to become more and more worried of the long-term consequences the phone might cause towards people’s health. Cell phones emit a type of electromagnetic radiation called radio-frequency radiation (RFR). Whether or not this radiation could be potentially hazardous to its user’s health has been and still is, heavily under research. Although cell phones are proven to emit radiation at this point in time, I do not believe the radiation is a health risk due to inconclusive findings. In order to better understand how the radiation is related to a cell phone, it is necessary to understand how a cell phone works. Every cell phone uses a type of radiofrequency radiation (RFR) whenever a call or text is sent out or coming in. The amount of RFR can be very dangerous and depends on numerous factors. One factor is in regards to the amount of cell phone traffic. For instance, larger cities have more people and therefore more cell phones per square mile than a less populated rural area that might have one or two cell phones stretching over miles. The possible health risks of RFR can be characterized in two ways: thermal and non-thermal. Thermal effects occur when enough RFR at certain frequencies are absorbed to be converted to heat, increasing tissue temperature. However, non-thermal effects and their health risks are something of an unknown quantity. According to the National Cancer Society: A cell phone's main source of RF energy is produced through its antenna. The antenna of newer hand-held cell phones is in the handset, which is typically held against the side of the head when the telephone is in use. The closer the antenna is to the head, the greater a person's expected exposure to RF energy. The amount of RF energy absorbed by a person decreases significantly with increasing distance between the antenna and the user. The intensity of RF energy emitted by a cell phone depends on the level of the signal. When a call is placed from a cell phone, a signal is sent from the antenna of the phone to the nearest base station antenna. The base station routes the call through a switching center, where the call can be transferred to another cell phone, another base station, or the local landline telephone system. The farther a cell phone is from the base station antenna, the higher the power level needed to...
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