Treehugger’s PSAs warn of dangerous radiation

Jenny Barshay, Staff Writers

Perhaps you noticed the sheet of computer paper that was taped to the back of your bathroom stall door.  Hopefully, you skimmed it.  It’s more likely that you did not read it at all.  Schreiber’s environmentally conscious friends, the Treehuggers Club, posted those fliers around the school to notify students of the potential dangers of cell phone radiation.

It is still uncertain whether prolonged exposure to cell phones and other wireless devices can result in serious health complications.  It is certain, however, that these wireless devices give off a number of types of radiation.  While these are not the same kinds of radiation that typically cause cancer (high-frequency ionizing radiation), it can still have detrimental effects.

“At Treehuggers, we think it is extremely important to make students aware of ways to make their cell phone usage safer.  Cell phones are a major part of our lives, but it is important that we know how to lessen any potential dangers,” said junior Michaela Gawley, president of the Treehuggers Club.

The results of various independent studies indicate that continued exposure to the microwave type of radiation coming from cell phones may alter DNA in addition to causing various other health problems.  Certain cells may also be damaged by such radiation, including those in your salivary glands and connective tissue.  In addition, there has been a recent increase in fatal brain tumors in excessive cell phone users.  These brain tumors include acoustic neuromas, meningiomas, and gliomas.  These serve as strong links to the fact that cell phones may cause long term damage to the brain, despite the fact that a definitive study tying microwave radiation to cell phone usage has yet to come out.

It is the cell phone’s antenna that emits radiation.  Most newer phones have the antenna within their bodies.  It is for this reason that most phone manufacturers recommend not holding the phone against the head and instead to keep about one inch of distance between the phone and the ear.  The same recommendation applies to cordless phones, which use similar technology.

The Treehuggers flyer, adapted from Grassroots.com, recommends:

Reduce your overall use as much as possible.  Use the speakerphone function (or a corded headset with an air tube) whenever possible.

Always use a land line instead of a cell phone if available.

Limit children’s use of cell phones.

Unplug any domestic wireless transmitter when not in use.  Avoid wireless baby monitors and cordless phones which use similar wireless technology.

Use hard-wired internet connections instead of wireless transmitters when at home