Reasons Why Cellphones Are Bad For Your Health
Reasons Why Cellphones Are Bad For Your Health
Ninety-one percent of adults and 60 percent of teens own this device that has revolutionized communication in the 21st century — the cellphone. Whether you own an Android, an iPhone, a Blackberry, or a basic flip phone, chances are you check your phone for messages, alerts, or calls even when your mobile device isn’t ringing or vibrating, reports a Pew Internet & American Life Project survey. The modern convenience that cell phones provide is responsible for everyone’s increased daily use. According to the Morning side Recovery Rehabilitation Center, the average American spends 144 minutes a day using his or her phone during a 16-hour period. With an estimated six billion subscriptions worldwide and counting, cell phones have become one of the fundamental means of communication in society.
While cell phones provide an efficient and easy way to communicate with friends, family, and co-workers, excessive use can take a toll on your health. Mobile phones use transmitting radio waves through a series of base stations where radio frequency waves are electromagnetic fields that cannot break chemical bonds or cause ionization in the human body, says the World Health Organization (WHO). Although cellphones are considered to be low-powered radio frequency transmitters, your handset transmits power when it is on, and therefore it is important to increase your distance from the handset to reduce radio frequency exposure. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) suggests cell phone users to keep a minimum distance of 20 centimeters from their handset to significantly reduce radiation exposure. Adults and especially children can suffer the long-term effects of radiation waves on the brain. “Young children particularly need to be careful,” Dr. Devra Davis, director for environmental oncology at the University of Pittsburgh, told CNN.com. “We do not have enough information nor do we have enough time to be sure that cell phones are safe, and there’s reason for concern that they may be harmful,” she said. The University of Pittsburgh also warned its faculty and staff to limit their cell phone use due to the possible cancer risks.
Don’t gamble on your life, and learn about the reasons why increased cell phone use can have short-term and long-term effects on your health.
NEGATIVELY AFFECTS EMOTIONS
The presence of a cell phone while two or more people are talking face-to-face can generate negative feelings toward the person who has his or her device visible. In two studies conducted at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom, researchers studied the effects of a mobile device during a nose-to-nose conversation. In the first study, 37 pairs of strangers were asked to spend 10 minutes talking to each other about an interesting event that happened in their lives within the past month. Half of the participants were seated in a secluded area with a mobile device present on a desk nearby whereas the other half remained without a cellphone. The results of the study showed that those who had a mobile device nearby were perceived less positive by the stranger, compared to the other participants without a cell phone present.
In the second study, researchers included 34 different pairs of strangers who were asked to discuss trivial topics while others were asked to discuss significant events that occurred in their life. Half of the participants chatted with a mobile device while with the stranger and the other half had a notebook. The results of the study showed that those who spoke about significant events in their lives with a notebook present experienced a feeling of closeness and trust in the stranger, unlike those with a cell phone. “These results demonstrate that the presence of mobile phones can interfere with human relationships, an effect that is most clear when individuals are discussing personally meaningful topics,” said the researchers of the study.
INCREASES STRESS LEVELS
The high frequency of cell phone use can have negative effects on our stress levels. The constant ringing, vibrating alerts, and reminders can put a cell phone user on edge. In a study conducted at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, researchers examined if there is a direct link between the psychosocial aspects of cell phone use and mental health symptoms in young adults. The participants of the study included 20 to 24 year olds who responded to a questionnaire, in addition to a one-year follow-up. Researchers found high mobile phone use was associated with stress and sleep disturbances for women, whereas high mobile phone use was associated with sleep disturbances and symptoms of depression in men. Overall, excessive cell phone use can be a risk factor for mental health issues in young adults.
INCREASES RISK OF ILLNESSES IN YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
The incessant touching of your phone can harbor germs on your handset. The greasy, oily residue you may see on your cellphone after a day’s use can contain more disease-prone germs than those found on a toilet seat. In a study conducted at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London, researchers sampled 390 cell phones and hands to measure for levels of bacteria. The results of the study showed that 92 percent of the cell phones sampled had bacteria on them — 82 percent of hands had bacteria — and 16 percent of cell phones and hands had E. Coli. Fecal matter can easily be transferred by cell phones from one person to another.
INCREASES RISK OF CHRONIC PAIN
Cell phones require constant use of your hands, especially when sending text messages and e-mails. Responding to messages at rapid speed can cause pain and inflammation of your joints. Back pain is also common with increased cell phone use, especially if you hold the phone between your neck and shoulders as you multitask. “Long periods of cell phone use cause you to arch your neck and hold your body in a strange posture. This can lead to back pain,”
INCREASES RISK OF EYE VISION PROBLEMS
Staring at your mobile device can cause problems in your vision later in life. Screens on mobile devices tend to be smaller than computer screens, which means you are more likely to squint and strain your eyes while reading messages. According to The Vision Council, more than 70 percent of Americans don’t know or are in denial that they are susceptible to digital eye strain.