Are Cell Phones Dangerous
Modernity and advancement in technology have created a pool of electromagnetic radiations (EMR) that all swim in whether voluntary or circumstantially. Power lines, electrical appliances, wireless charging system, are just a small fraction of modern life devices that produce EMR. Apart from few people living in completely isolated areas where technology has not penetrated, the rest of humanity live in this sea of EMR particularly due to cellular phones. Unfortunately, a majority of the cell phone users do not read the fine print in the cell phone manual where those manual still exist. As a result, all most everybody holds their cell phone next to the ear when communicating whereas all manual advice that phone should be held at least an inch away. Moreover, cell phones have become more than just communication devices; they are used as flashlights, video game platforms, alarm clocks, calendars, and to some extent social partners. In fact, studies have indicated that smartphones owners consider life unlivable in the absence of their phones. This explains why it is so easily for a person to get distracted by these gadgets even in situations where maximum attention is paramount and critical. The mere fact that the use of cell phones is addictive makes them dangerous. This essay argues that mobiles phones are dangerous and their use should be limited and carefully monitored because they have potential to cause health hazards, endangers life in traffic and have an adverse impact on the development process of young children.
National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 200 fatalities and half a million injuries each year within the United States alone are as a result of cell phone car accidents. Moreover, one out of every four car accident has a link to the use of mobile phones which make them extremely dangerous. Besides, distractions caused by cell phone are detrimental to drivers and pedestrians because they cause them to miss road signs, and in some cases completely ignore the situations on the road resulting in accidents. Such distractions behind the steering wheel even for a split of a second set up a series of events that culminates in injuries if not fatalities. Emirati is a classical example of the dangers of cell phone use while on the road as he vividly remembered being on the phone just before the crash happened. “When he regained consciousness, the 37-year-old was in a hospital and had lost all feeling in his legs. Doctors could not guarantee that he would walk again.” Unfortunately, this is just one example among many which explain why more states and municipalities continue to enact regulations on the use of mobile phones while driving.
As hinted above, regular use of cell phone is a looming public health crisis. ERM originating from the handsets as well as from the base transmission stations that pick and transmit the signals have been associated with several health complications such as brain tumor and genetic damage. According to National Cancer Institute, radio waves radiations emitted by the mobile communication system can be absorbed by the skin tissues particularly near where the phone is held. In agreement with these findings, World Health Organization (WHO) caution mobile phones users but also reports that cell phone use has not yet been directly linked to adverse effects on human health. Nevertheless, several epidemiological studies have reported an association between male fertility and cell phone use. In a study involving men who regularly attended fertility clinics, those who were regular mobile phone users recorded low sperm count. Moreover, the viability and motility of their sperms were also slightly lower than normal. That notwithstanding, two other studies also observed that increased use of cell phone as directly proportional to the number of sperm with abnormal structure confirming that cell phones are dangerous. In other experiments where rodents were exposed to cell phone radiations, similar results were observed as well as increased oxidative stress and DNA damage. For instance, rat exposed to an active cell phone for just one day produced sperm with less mobility compared to a rat exposed to a phone without battery for the same period. It is this damage to DNA that affects the development process of the children.
Brain cancer is another danger gaining public attention and associated with radiations emitted by the mobile communication devices. Although microwave radiations (the frequency used by mobile technology) are non-ionizing, a significant majority seem to believe that the effects can be compared to cancer-causing ionizing radiations like x-rays and gamma rays. The fact that microwave radiation frequency is below that of the visible light and the UV rays discredit the argument that cell phone use is dangerous and can cause brain cancer. Besides, non-ionizing radiations do not have the energy capable of breaking molecular bonds. Therefore, cell phones cannot directly cause brain cancer as many have been made to believe considering it lacks the necessary energy to trigger DNA mutation. Moreover, research conducted on rodents also confirms that mobile communication devices radiations cannot promote or cause cancer even in isolated human cells. Similarly, those of the view that cell phone are not dangerous argues that a communication gadget cannot be blamed for car accidents. In their opinion, the lack of personal discipline in the use of highly essential technological equipment is dangerous, but the technology itself cannot be termed to be dangerous.
Even though it is agreeable that microwave radiations emitted by cell phone and base transmission towers are of low frequency hence cannot directly cause cancer, the effects arising from the radiations increase the risk of cancer in long-term. As indicated above, microwave radiations increase oxidative stress in cells to a level capable of causing DNA damage. Although different experiments on animals have shown fundamentally different results; the argument that cell phones are dangerous is more reasonable. This is because, when cell phone are viewed to have some dangers to the human health, precaution measures will be put in place hence mitigate the other apparent effects of EMR exposure. Moreover, this will also help limit and monitor mobile phone use particularly on the roads which will go a long way in reducing road accident carnage. That notwithstanding, there must be a good reason why WHO still classify microwave radiations from cell phones as possibly carcinogenic. Although current epidemiological findings are largely inconclusive in relation to cancer; the dangers of cell phone use in relation to road and other distraction-related accident is out of the argument. Moreover, available supporting connections between human health and EMR are enough reasons to promote limited and monitored use of portable communication gadgets.
In sum, the essay has made it clear that it is not debatable whether cell phone are dangerous; what is open to debate is how dangerous. This is because in addition to increasing the number of accidents on the roads, regular use of mobile communication systems most likely increases brain cancer risks in the long-term. Moreover, there is convincing evidence suggesting that male fertility and sperm quality are affected by microwave radiations emitted by active cell phones. Despite the scarce evidence on the long-term detrimental effects of cell phone use to public heath, it is still advisable to maintain a safe distance from the phone especially when in bed.