Do Cell Phones Cause Health Risks? Radiation's Effects on the Human Body.

Essay by niki_nmnUniversity, Bachelor'sA, March 2004

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Many public agencies, along with the general population, have heard numerous reports about how mobile phone devices emit radiation that is absorbed by the user's body. These startling accounts have begun to worry many safety organizations, and many are disappointed to announce the inconclusive research behind cell phone risk. Numerous companies, including the United States Government, have conducted experiments dealing with the dangers of this type of radiation, and the results of these tests usually come back with contradictory answers.

Before we begin to analyze how the radiation levels affect the health of human begins, it is important we first discuss the definition and type of radiation associated with telecommunication devices. The radiation emitted by cellular phones is classified as radio frequency or RF (US FDA, 1), and is expressed in a unit called a hertz (HZ), which is equal to one wave per second. More commonly, RF is measured by means of its power density, or the power per unit area, expressed in milliwatts per square centimeter (mW/cm^2).

The quality used to measure how much RF energy is actually absorbed by the body is called the Specific Absorption Rate or SAR. It is usually expressed in units of Watts per kilogram (W/kg) or milliwatts per gram (mW/g). Many organizations have run test to determine a safe level for SAR absorption in the human body. The Federal Communications Commission or FCC guidelines are derived from two expert organizations called the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). These organizations have labeled the SAR value of four watts per kilogram (4W/kg) as a threshold level of exposure at which radiation can harm body tissues (US FDA, 3). The SAR level of 4W/kg was adopted as the U.S. legal limit in...