Schreiber Science

Adi Levin and Caroline Katz

Although an estimated 6 billion people worldwide have access to cell phones, the majority of users are unaware of the potential effects of cell phone radiation.

Cell phones emit electromagnetic radiation, the amount of which being directly associated with the amount of power the cell phone uses at a certain time.  For example, if there is poor reception, the cell phone will need to use more power in order to transmit a signal.  Therefore, more radiation is emitted from the phone that will penetrate deeper into the body.

These radiation waves then infiltrate through the brain and increase the metabolic activity near the phone’s antenna.

Dr. Nora Volkow demonstrated this by comparing positron emission tomography (PET) scans of a brain without cell phone exposure to a brain in which a cell phone was held up to the right ear for fifty minutes.  Although the two scans showed a significant difference in metabolic activity, researchers still are not entirely sure how the cell phone radiation initiates this increase in activity.

At first the general consensus was that the radiation caused the tissue to heat up, but this hypothesis was rejected after no heating was acknowledged in the experiment.

Regardless of how this phenomenon happens, the damage of cell phone radiation can take many years to surface, but when it does, it can be in the form of a tumor.  In fact, researchers predict that the number of brain tumors will skyrocket within the next 15 years due to the recent increase in cell phone use.

There are many ways to prevent the harmful effects of cell phone radiation.  First, you can reduce the amount of time you spend on your cell phone by only using it necessary.  Second, when you are home, you can use a landline, or even video chat or message on your computer, all of which do not emit radiation.

As mentioned above, you should also try to only use your cell phone in areas with strong reception so less radiation is emitted.

In addition, it is suggested to not carry your phone on your body; instead, it is recommended that you carry it in a bag or purse so your body is only exposed to your cell phone when necessary.

The next time you pick up your cell phone to play a game or check your Instagram feed, think about the radiation that is being emitted and how, over time, this radiation can possibly lead to a tumor, cancer, or paralysis.