08:03 12th Feb, 2020
Cellphones Don’t Cause Cancer, Says US FDA
While that may be true enough, the fact remains that cellphones are a health hazard, especially to the mental variety
Those of us who worry about cellphones causing cancer can rest assured as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claims that it has found “no quantifiable adverse health effects in humans caused by exposures at or under the current cell phone exposure limits”. They say so based on data collected between 2008 to 2019.
On its page related to cell phone safety, the FDA says that the current limits of radio frequency energy remain within acceptable levels that is required to safeguard public health.
“Over the last decade or so, many scientific articles have been published on the effects of radio frequency energy on animals. None of these articles have produced convincing evidence that localized exposure of radio frequency radiation (RFR) at levels that would be encountered by cell phone users can lead to health problems,” it says.
Although some researchers have reported adverse biological changes associated with RF energy, these studies have not been replicated. Most published studies have failed to show an association between exposure to RF energy from a cell phone and health problems, says the FDA on its website.
The FDA also sought to allay fears over 5G networks contributing to increased health hazards when they arrive in full strength. “While many of the specifics of 5G remain ill-defined, it is known that 5G cell phones will use frequencies covered by the current FCC exposure guidelines (300 kHz-100 GHz), and the conclusions reached based on the current body of scientific evidence covers these frequencies. The FDA will continue to monitor scientific information as it becomes available regarding the potential impacts of 5G,” it says.
It may be recalled that Federal Communications Commission chairman AjitPai had pronounced 5G safe last year amidst concerns across the world that the millimetre waves used across some of these networks could be harmful to humans. The FCC had also sought advice of the FDA on the matter.
Though FDA has given a clean-chit to both cell phones and the upcoming 5G networks, the fact remains that mobile phones have been found to cause health hazards. Some of the common issues related to cell phone use are listed below as a refresher to readers:
- Cellphones carry germs – We carry our phones on us wherever we go and some of us even carry them into the bathroom. Smartphones can be carriers of viruses and bacteria like E. coliwhich can make us very sick. Use of alcohol-based wipes are highly recommended.
- Strained neck muscles – Peering at smartphones constantly while texting, browsing or watching a movie strains the neck muscles resulting in knots or spasms. It could even lead to severe neck, shoulder and back pain that extends down the arms. Taking breaks after every 15-20 minutes is the only solution.
- Beware of the Blue – Smartphones emit shorter wavelength blue lights that could cause damage to vision besides interfering with sleep patterns. Research also suggests that it could contribute to heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Shut off the phone an hour before you hit the bed, at least.
- Watch your thumb – Excessive use of the thumb while texting could result in trigger fingers where the thumb gets stuck in a bent position. This condition is caused by inflammation of the tendon on the thumb. Beware of arthritis if you are in the habit of using the smartphone for more than a couple of hours each day.
- Cubital tunnel syndrome – This is caused by the compression of the ulnar nerve in the elbow resulting in numbness, tingling in the hands, especially ring and small fingers. Leaning on the elbows while using the phones is the prime cause. Even bending the elbows while holding the phone to the ear can cause this problem.
- The Social disconnect – Last but not the least! Smartphones are distracting us from socially connecting with others. How many times have you observed the family sitting around the living rooms holding on to their individual smartphones? Mobile phones are unfriendly!
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