This age of technology has placed mobile phones in the hands of nearly 5 billion people worldwide. Everyone, from the highest CEO of a multi-million dollar company, to college students, to the single moms waiting tables, have acquired cell phones and use them faithfully every day. Unfortunately, most don’t even consider the possibility of health issues that may arise from the use of a cell phone, the worst of which is the risk of cancer.
Instead of concerning themselves with the possible risks, many focus on what a cell phone can do for them. Today’s phones go far beyond the convenience of placing and receiving calls. Users can use them to text, email, or send communications through messaging apps like WhatsApp. Cell phones also take the place of both video and digital cameras, let their users play games, download and listen to music, and so much more. But this convenience comes at a shocking cost.
Health issues, such as heart disease, high blood pressure or cholesterol, and even STDs used to be the leading health concerns, but those days are long gone. They have been replaced by overuse of cellphones, and the serious risks that go with it.
There have been numerous studies that have aimed to prove that the use of cell phones may cause cancer. Many of those have shown little proof, but some concluded that users have a higher risk of glioma, which is a malignant brain tumor. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has even classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, such as those produced by cell phones, as a possible carcinogenic to humans. Because it takes so long for the negative effects to show up, another study began in March 2010, called COSMOS, which will follow 290,000 cell users over the age of 18 for the next 20 to 30 years, to conclusively study the effects of prolonged cell phone use.
To combat these risks, cell users are encouraged to take the following precautions. The first is to reduce the use of cell phones, and other wireless devices. Whenever possible, use a landline instead. People are urged to carry the cell phone in a bag or purse, rather than in a pocket. For men, this is especially important, because when carried in the pants pocket, or on the hip, it can affect fertility. Don’t use it in areas where there is limited reception, as this forces the phone to use more power to transmit. When a call must be made, use a headset, preferably wireless, or at the very least, a shielded wired one.
2. Higher Stress
Having a cell phone beeping, buzzing, and ringing all day can raise a person’s stress level. A university in Sweden performed a study which concluded that excessive use of cell phones can create higher risks of mental health issues for younger adults, including depression, stress and sleep disturbances.
3. Vision Problems
The small screens mean a person is more likely to strain their eyes when playing games or reading text messages, which can lead to vision problems later in life.
Any germs picked up by the hand are transferred to the mobile device, and are then transferred to anything or anyone that touches it afterwards. In fact, 1 day’s use of a cellphone can leave as many disease-prone germs on it as there are on a toilet seat. A study done by the University of London even found that many of the phones tested were even contaminated with E. Coli.
5. Chronic Pain
Constantly sending texts or emails can put strain on the hands and wrists, as can cradling a cell phone between the head and shoulder while on a call. Such contortion can lead to back pain, due to the unnatural posture.
6. Negative Emotions
Two studies done by the University of Essex found that simply having a cell phone nearby while two strangers talked about interesting or significant events created a less positive atmosphere, and caused them to feel less trust in each other when the cell phone was present than when it was not. This was especially noticeable when they were discussing very personal and meaningful topics
Credit: Sasha Brown