Among the many environmental pollutants we have to live with in an urban setting, many people are unaware of the health impacts of mobile phone radiation. A new smart phone app called Too Close for Android was recently launched to issue a reminder when the phone is too near to the body for safe use. As its name implies, the software tells users when they are holding the phone too close to the head.
The public health hazards of mobile phone radiation have been controversial since the beginning of manufacture when the microwave frequency bands were suddenly authorized by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). The long term health consequences of such a decision could not really be discovered until after many years of wide use. However, scientists are becoming increasingly concerned as billions of these devices are now in active use worldwide. Several researchers have found a definitive link between cell phone use and cellular damage. Dr. Peter Franch of the University of Sydney in Australia has even gone so far as saying “Cells are permanently damaged by cellular phone frequencies”. So is there a link between mobile phones and cancer?
The World Health Organization has stated that cell phone radiation is a “possible carcinogen”, but few researchers are willing to commit to a strong statement despite increased incidences of brain tumors (glioma), ear tumors (Acoustic neuroma) in heavy cell phone users.
It is interestingly coincidental that most of these tumors of the ear and brain show up on the right side of the body where most users place their phones. The correlation of mobile phones to health problems range from various types of tumors and cancer to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and even Attention Deficit Disorder. Groundbreaking research by Dr. Ohm Gandhi demonstrated radio frequency penetration from cell phone radiation has a particularly negative impact on the developing brains of young children. Since the skulls of children have not fully formed, EMF radiation can enter into the brain at a rate more than five times that of an adult.
The best way the public can protect themselves from the harmful impact of cell phones is to simply follow the instructions provided in their user manual to keep the phone several inches away from the head. This is the primary aim of the new smartphone app, Too Close for Android. The software can detect the distance of the phone to the head and trigger an alert to keep the phone away. The software developer, Green Swan, is hoping to force a behavioral change across the industry to remember safer cell phone use by opting for a speakerphone or headset instead of holding the phone near the head. With millions of these devices in active use around the world, maybe over time their app will make a difference after all.