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Do Mobile Phones present a risk to today's youth in terms of microwave radiation?

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Do Mobile Phones present a risk to today’s youth in terms of microwave radiation?

What is Microwave radiation?

Microwaves are a form of “electromagnetic” radiation. They are waves of electrical and magnetic radiation moving through space. Mobile phones use 'radio waves' to transmit signals. Radio waves are just part of the 'electromagnetic spectrum', a map of all the energy waves that exist. Radio waves, such as in mobile phones, are at the lower end of the spectrum. They have very low energies, and do not have the ability to alter matter, so they are classed as non-ionizing radiation. Microwave radiation is measured as power density in units of milliwatts per square centimetre (mW/cm2)

Mobile phone radiation

Mobile phone radiation and health concerns have been raised, especially following the enormous increase in the use of wireless mobile communications devices throughout the world. This is because mobile phones use electromagnetic waves in the microwave range. These concerns have induced a large body of research in non-human animals (see below)

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After 15 minutes of using a mobile phone, your head is subjected to amounts of microwave radiation enough to significantly heat your head and brain. In the picture below the orange, red and pink show significant, dangerous heat. Most heat is generated in your ear canal, which is directly connected to your brain.4


The radio waves emitted by a typical handset following the Global System for Mobile communications guidelines, can have a peak power of 2 watts. The maximum power output from a mobile phone is regulated by the mobile phone standard it is following and by the regulatory agencies in each country.6

Whilst there is no evidence that mobiles produce sufficient levels of radiation to cause any lasting negative effects, there is no harm in taking simple precautions to reduce the levels of radiation you absorb from using your phone:

  • moving your phone 20cm away from your head reduces radiation doses by about 98%2
  • Hands free headsets dramatically reduce radiation emissions into the brain as no contact is actually being made with the mobile chip – the source of the radiation.
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Despite all the theoretical and practical evidence showing that there are some clear proven hazards, none are particularly harmful unless the mobile phone is used inappropriately. At the moment, there is no evidence to suggest that Mobile phone radiation is a serious health hazard to people. There are some valid links, but none of the studies revealed so far have yielded any urgent results to provoke a change in the way we use our phones.  

Some scientists and people may disagree with the limited evidence available until such time that there is valid, irrefutable source of evidence where the hazards are outlined and conclusive.


  1. What are the health risks associated with mobile phones and their base stations? Online Q&A. World Health Organization http://www.who.int/features/qa/30/en/index.html
  2. http://www.uswitch.com
  3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/hottopics/mobilephones/safety.shtml#
  4. http://www.mariatiffin.com/smarthealth.html
  5. http://www.powerwatch.org.uk/news/images/20051128_ratbrains.jpg
  6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_phone_radiation_and_health
  7. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0ECZ/is_2004_April_7/ai_n6265175

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