#498: Mobiles: are they doing you harm?
The weblog version of this message is at: http://www.emfacts.com/weblog/index.php?p=498
On tonight’s A Current Affair a very good story was aired about the recent Australian research by Professor Con Stough, from the Brain Sciences Institute at Melbourne’s Swinburne University. Hopefully a complete transcript will soon be available but a brief summary is on the ACA web site, and follows.
Interestingly, when I just checked the ACA web site, the three links given with the story on the ACA web site, if you want more information on the mobile phone health issue, are all to the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association! That is like doing a story on the dangers of second hand smoking and linking it to the Tobacco Institute. Obviously someone high up in the TV Network is doing a bit of damage control for the telcos. Shame on ACA.
Mobiles: are they doing you harm?
21 June 2006
The jury is out on whether mobile phones are as safe as the phone companies would have us believe.
Professor Con Stough, from the Brain Sciences Institute at Melbourne’s Swinburne University, says he finally has scientific proof that mobile phones are having an impact on our heads.
He tested 120 people to see how the electromagnetic radiation affected their memory and ability to solve problems and the results have been published in the scientific journal Neurophyschologia.
“In a few cases, performance improved, but in the majority of cases performance decreased,” he says.
“For things like memory or information processing, or learning, there was an impairment due to the mobile phones.”
Chris Althaus, CEO of the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, which represents mobile phone companies, points out that while Professor Stough’s research does show mobiles cause changes in brain activity, that doesn’t mean they’re doing us any damage.
“We’ve looked at the study by the professor and, really, the impacts are low-level, they’re not health-related, and it begs a deal of further research on the issue,” he says.
“You can be absolutely assured that mobile phones are safe, the results of this study indicate some impact on brain activity in a slowing of reaction time but equally, in other instances, other studies have shown a speeding up of reaction time.”
Professor Stough, however, says that while his study doesn’t conclusively demonstrate negative impacts on health, changes to biological processes are the precursors to changes in health.
But until there is definitive proof that mobiles are or aren’t harmful to us, there are a few things you can do to reduce your exposure to mobile phone radiation:
* When dialling someone else, hold your phone away from your head until you hear the other person answer. When your phone is dialling or receiving a call there is far more radiation being emitted, so if you keep it away from your head that will reduce your exposure.
* Only use your phone when you’ve got a strong signal “” four or five bars showing. The phone will work with fewer reception signal bars but will emit a lot more radiation.
* Children and teenagers have smaller, thinner skulls than adults and therefore are going to receive more radiation through the head. Think about whether your child needs a mobile at all and encourage teenagers to use mobiles less.
* Use a hands-free kit. Experts say it can reduce your exposure by up to 94 percent.