Friday, October 15, 2010

Cell Phones And Your Health: What Do You Know?

Are cell phones good for you? I got around to asking myself that question after I saw a news show on television that asked the same question but did nothing significant about providing an answer. Well, maybe not did nothing, rather didn't do enough about providing an answer. That got me thinking about why there is no conclusive answer on that question of the cell phone's safety or harmfulness.

So, why don't we know anything definite about whether a gadget that has been in such wide spread use by hundreds of millions of people around the world, for more than twenty years is harmful to us? Is there a particular reason why there haven't been any studies commissioned to find out this very pertinent fact? Or have such studies been done and if yes why haven't the results been made public?

Do we really have anything to fear about using these gadgets like many rumors have suggested? Rumors have suggested that the rays utilized in the signals that come and go from the cellphones can, and have in some cases of long use, caused brain tumors. There have also been rumors of these same rays being deadly to sperm production in males.

In fact, tests have been carried out that proved the sperm killing effects of cellphones. Sperm taken from volunteers was exposed to cell phone radiation over a period and it was discovered that about half of the sperm was killed while the sperms in the control experiment remained alright. Over the years, there have been lawsuits from people who claim to have gotten brain tumors and cancer from exposure to cell phone radiation. Even though these suits have not yet been successful, to date, many independent scientists and researchers have been speaking out about the possibility because of the radiation capabilities of the cell phone.

In the midst of all the argument, the regulatory bodies from around the world have been, at best,  non committal, rather giving out tepid, all is fine, answers to questions. The cell phone companies, on the other hand, have also presented the all is fine answer when asked publicly about it. But they have also resorted to small prints warnings on their products - I guess as a defensive measure against the lawsuits they know will come. In the fine prints they warn about the harmful effects of the same radiations they claim is harmless in real time.

Of course, few people bother reading the fine prints on anything, least of all, cell phone packages and, therefore, these warnings largely go un-heeded. But, if you ever get around to reading it, it tells you, in a non-committal manner, to keep the handset a certain distance from your body at all times, even when talking on your phone.

There are, probably, millions of detailed articles about the harmful effects of cell phones out there which you can access with a click of the mouse so, this one will not go into that. My article  will simply ask questions on why there is not a stronger regulatory input in the making and marketing of these devices, given the many evidence that abound, on its harmful effects on people? Given that even the manufacturing companies recognize these harmful effects and warn about them, albeit discreetly, on the packaging. And why would these companies be allowed to hide their warnings in very tiny prints that people hardly bother to read?

Why this sort of grey area fuzziness on something as potentially harmful to many as the cell phone when arguably less harmful things are forced to advertise with much more caveat? Remember cigarettes and how it's manufacturers are made to literally put a picture of damaged lungs the packaging. You are probably wondering how I can insinuate that cigarettes are less harmful than cell phones and this is why. The average age at which people start smoking is fourteen and it's not everybody who decides to smoke. The cell phone is a different proposition as it is a habit which everybody who can afford, forms.

And what is the average age at which people begin to use cell phones? Five years, and that is a very conservative quote because I have seen kids as young as three with cell phones. So, imagine being exposed to that radiation, on a regular basis, from that young, until adulthood. Remember that this is not the kind of habit you can quit, unlike smoking. Clearly, this is potentially, twice as deadly as cigarettes by sheer numbers if the rumors are true, and most evidence point to that being the case.

So, why is something like this still not a main stream issue, why is it still left in the back waters of the web where it is conveniently buried in the chatter? Is it by design that the regulatory bodies who should be protecting consumers are not saying anything worthwhile about this issue? Might it be because big money for big business is more important than our lives? Just asking questions and while we wait for answers, it will pay you to get a carrying case and head set for your cell phone. Also, do turn your cell phone off sometimes when you don't absolutely need it.

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