How Dangerous Is Your Mobile Phone?
Translation of an article published in the Swedish newspaper ‘Aftonbladet’
February 8th, 1997.
Journalist: Jan Helin
Scientists raise the alarm:
How dangerous is your mobile phone
Five ways to reduce the risk
How to protect your child
The two-page article inside the paper reads:
Do you dare call from your mobile phone?
Still more alarming scientific reports on dangerous radiation from mobile phones
Every fourth Swede owns a mobile phone.
Last year alone one million phones were sold.
At the same time, alarming scientific reports start swarming:
The radiation from the phones may be dangerous.
Aftonbladet today answers the most common questions.
Is your mobile phone dangerous?
Nobody knows for sure. The scientists downplay the risk, but the cell phone story is a thriller:
Today’s knowledge could be tomorrow’s nightmare, says the scientist lle Johansson from Karolinska Instituttet. It is likely that 30 years from now wonder how people in the whole world could place such a high frequency radiation source to the head.
Why can the mobile phone be dangerous?
The antenna radiates microwaves. The same type of radiation as in a microwave oven, although in much smaller doses. Like the microwave oven heats food, the microwaves of the phone heat human cells. Science does not know exactly what happens with human cells which are exposed to microwaves.
Can I get cancer from the mobile phone?
Animal studies on rats show that cells are affected and the genes (DNA) can be damaged by mobile phone-like radiation. This is a plausible coupling to how tumors are initiated. More can science not say today, Olle Johansson explains.
What other damages can microwaves cause?
An American study mentions the following damages: Behavioral disturbances, nerve damages, fetal damages, cataract, changes to blood chemistry and impaired immune defense. Whether this is also true for the low doses which the mobile phones are emanating, nobody knows.
Are children more sensitive to microwaves?
In general, children are more sensitive to anything affecting the human body. An Australian report concludes that children absorbs microwaves at a rate 3.3 times higher than an adult. What this means exactly, nobody knows.
Are different people sensitive to the radiation to different degrees?
This is probably so. Electrical hypersensitive people often complaint over problems in connection with mobile phones.
Is the digital phone more dangerous than the analog phone?
A substantial body of research suggests that this is true. In this case it is connected with the fact that the digital phone emits a pulsed signal, and this frequency affects people more than the analog signal.
Is it dangerous to live near a base station?
Today nobody knows for sure how it affects humans to continuously stay in a weak microwave field.
How clear must evidence be before the mobile phone industry admits to the risks?
It is one of the worlds most successful hi-tech industries by the turn of the century. In Sweden alone, this industry has created tens of thousands of jobs. Scientist Clas Tegenfeld who is writing a book on biological effects of electromagnetic fields is pessimistic: Already now there is at least 15,000 scientific reports on the subject. I am afraid that the truth is that we don’t want to know.
This is how you minimize the risk
Five ways to minimize the risks of the mobile phone:
Shorter conversations! Avoid speaking for long periods on the mobile phone. Try to plan your calls in such a way that you use ordinary phones for long conversations.
Don’t sit in the car! Speak as little as possible inside the car because it amplifies the radiation. If you have to speak a lot from the car, get a roof antenna.
Protect your baby! Don’t place a turned-on mobile phone in the baby carriage. The mobile phone emits microwaves even if you don’t speak in it.
Avoid the waist! Don’t carry the mobile phone in the belt around the waist. It is needless to expose the deposits of bone marrow in the hips, and the testicles to the microwaves. Earlier there have been warnings against placing the phone next to the heart. This is now regarded as being less dangerous, unless you have a pacemaker. The best place to carry the phone is in a military trouser’s leg pocket.
Direct the antenna! Always pull out the antenna when you use the phone and direct it away from the head, not upright in parallel with the head. It may be a marginal difference, but it reduces the radiation into the head somewhat.
Annika become ill when the phone is turned on. Her breathing becomes difficult and she gets a headache.
Annika Fogelström in Linköping reacts directly to mobile phones. Her breathing becomes troublesome, she feels a pressure on the chest and headache if she is a couple of meters from a mobile phone. When she was most ill she could feel whether it was a digital or an analog phone which had been turned on near to her.
The scientists are uncertain whether mobile phones have an effect on humans. Annika Fogelström from Linköping is not: It is beyond doubt that something here is affecting humans.
Established by blind testing Annika has excellent support for her statement. The scientist Olle Johansson of Karolinska Instituttet in Solna performed a blind test on Annika. She was placed in a room in which in a series of tests with two identical bags were brought in. In one of them was a turned-on mobile phone, in the other just papers.
I could identify the bag with the phone nine out of nine times. Then, about a year ago, Annika was so sensitive that she could tell the difference between a digital and an analog phone. Annika is certain that this is related to her electrical hypersensitivity.
When it started, she was perspiring abnormally and she got skin eruptions when she was sitting for several hours in front of a computer screen. Annika ‘sanitized’ her home and workplace. After a while, 90 percent of her trouble had disappeared. However, the problem with the mobile phone remained.
Reaction to a phone in the room. It was enough that a mobile phone was placed in the same room, then it started humming in her head and tighten in her skin. When is was worst she had trouble breathing, she felt a pressure over the breast and a headache.
Maybe it is so that I react directly on something other people will become very ill over 20 years from now, Annika Fogelström says.