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01 December 2018

2.0, Birds, Bees, Health and Radiation: What Does Science Say?

What is your cellphone doing to your
(Photo: iStock)
2.0, Birds, Bees, Health and Radiation: What Does Science Say?
FIT, 29 November 2018

In May 2018, a new study came out that claimed that radiation from cellphones was indeed killing the birds and the bees and destroying plants. Superstar Rajnikanth’s latest sci fi thriller 2.0 doesn’t sound that far fetched anymore, does it?

The EU backed analysis studied 97 different research papers before coming to this conclusion. Earlier in 2010, as reported by The Telegraph, a study claimed that radiation may interfere with what they called the magnetic compass that the birds and bees use.

And we all know what happens when the bees die, right? The world comes to an end.

Ready to put down your phone yet? Wait there’s more.

Several studies over the years have raised concerns about cellphone radiation’s impact on health. In 2011, the World Health Organisation categorised cellphones as a ‘possible human carcinogen.’ Following this several countries issued warnings asking parents to keep their children away from cellphones. It’s 2018, and where are we at with all the studies?

Largest Study Finds Links to Brain Cancer

In November 2018, the world’s largest study/experiment revealed there is evidence cellphone radiation can cause cancer. Believed to be the most expensive experiment, the study involved more than 3000 rodents, reports The New York Times.

The US National Toxicology Program, part of the US Department of Health, carried out the experiment and found ‘clear’ evidence that radiation from some cellphones can lead to tumours in the heart and ‘some evidence’ that it could lead to brain cancer in male rats. Now since this was an experiment, the amount of exposure to radiation that these unfortunate rats had was much more than what humans are exposed to. Rat’s were exposed to radiation for 9 hours a day for 2 years. The rats though were largely exposed to 2g and 3g radiation.

Yes, you are not a male rat, and yes the poor rats were over-exposed to outdated technology, but given the sheer number of people who now use cellphones, experts warn the findings are significant.

The Big Cellphone Lobby?

Much like the big tobacco and big fuel lobby, some experts claim the ‘big cellphone’ lobby has been downplaying the evidence. Every single time a big study has found a connection between cellphones and cancer, the lobby plays up other ‘friendly’ studies downplaying it.

The Guardian published an opinion piece earlier this year tracing the lobby’s interference in how studies are downplayed, countered and discredited. In the report, the authors point to an analysis of industry-backed safety-related studies versus independent studies. In an analysis of 326 studies between 1990 and 2006, it was found that 67% of independent studies found a link between cancer and cellphones, as opposed to just 28 % industry backed studies.

What About 4G and 5G?

The fourth generation cellphones use much higher frequencies than their earlier counterparts. Experts say these frequencies are less successful at penetrating the human body.

But here’s the problem. While the new technology will make the world more connected than ever before, it will also massively increase our dependence, and our exposure to radiation.

In the meantime, don’t be attached to your phone 24/7...

  • Carry it in a bag. You don’t have to attach it to your hands. Or your head.
  • Don’t sleep with it. It’s not a loved one. Just connects you with one.
  • Use a speakerphone. Make Siri your friend.
  • If you can’t get a good signal, don’t use the phone. The phone will need more radio frequency to connect. And we just illustrated above what more exposure to radio frequency does to you.
  • Watch that Netflix series on your computer. Or your smart TV.
  • Try airplane mode when you don’t feel like connecting. Or better yet, just switch it off.
  • Go meet a friend. Have a coffee, have a drink, have real conversations with real people in the real world.

Or wait for Akshay Kumar’s Pakshiraj from 2.0 to appear in the sky and suck that cellphone away from your hands.

Also Read : Here’s Why Phone Addiction Should Worry You and What You Can Do


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