Radiation Risk: Are Some Cellphones More Dangerous Than Others?


Credit: sxc.hu | apatterson

Radiation Risk: Are Some Cellphones More Dangerous Than Others?

Last month, theِ International Agency forِ Research onِ Cancer, a branch ofِ the World Health Organization, declared cellphone radiation possibly carcinogenic toِ humans.
Now, someِ scientists areِ claiming thatِ certainِ types ofِ cellphones couldِ beِ more possibly carcinogenic thanِ others.
I’ve beenِ telling friends andِ family members toِ seriouslyِ considerِ switching toِ CDMA cellphones] ifِ they’re usingِ GSM cellphones, saidِ Joel Moskowitz, theِ director ofِ the Center forِ Family andِ Community Health atِ the University ofِ California, Berkeley.

Higher power

There isِ accumulating evidence thatِ cellphones thatِ operate onِ GSM networks emit significantly moreِ radiation thanِ doِ cellphones operating onِ CDMA networks.
This isِ not apparent whenِ you lookِ atِ a phone’s specs, Moskowitz said, becauseِ phone companies areِ required toِ list onlyِ the specific absorption rate (SAR) — theِ measure ofِ the rate atِ which energy fromِ a radio frequency electromagnetic field isِ absorbed byِ the body — ofِ a phone atِ its maximum radiation output.
When a GSM phone transmits, itِ immediately goesِ to theِ peak power, andِ then theِ power control circuitry ratchets downِ the power toِ anِ acceptable level, explained Mark McNeeley, anِ electrical engineer atِ Exponent Engineering andِ Scientific Consulting services andِ co-author ofِ a recentِ study comparing GSM andِ CDMA networks.

What does radiation do to the brain?

Although dozens ofِ international studies haveِ beenِ conducted overِ the pastِ decade, someِ ofِ which point toِ higher incidences ofِ certainِ types ofِ brain cancers inِ people whoِ useِ cellphones heavily, theِ negative side effects ofِ cellphone usage remain undetermined.
A possibleِ consequence ofِ the higher radiation output ofِ GSM phones wasِ seenِ inِ a study published inِ the International Journal ofِ Science Technology & Management inِ April.
Researchers compared brain scans ofِ people talking onِ GSM phones andِ CDMA phones andِ found thatِ the formerِ stimulated muchِ moreِ brain activity thanِ the latter.

What to do?

GSM andِ CDMA networks work soِ differently thatِ a phone built forِ one cannotِ operate onِ the other.
It isِ difficult toِ sayِ whether higher radiation output isِ bad, simply becauseِ the jury isِ still outِ onِ whether cellphone radiation isِ bad inِ the firstِ place, saysِ Ken Foster, a professor ofِ bioengineering atِ the University ofِ Pennsylvania whoِ hasِ beenِ studying theِ effects ofِ radiofrequencies forِ 40 years.
Though Foster grants thatِ consumers couldِ probably reduce their exposure by choosing CDMA ratherِ than GSM phones, heِ doesn’tِ think it’sِ likely a higher radiation output actuallyِ makes GSM phones  more hazardous thanِ CDMA phones.

Hazardous frequencies

However, according toِ otherِ scientists, thereِ isِ some evidence thatِ the potentially hazardous aspect ofِ cellphone radiation mayِ beِ the wayِ inِ which transmissions areِ modulated — theِ way individual pulses ofِ radiation areِ constructed outِ of a range ofِ frequencies.
The modulation pattern isِ differentِ for CDMA andِ GSM phones, andِ some scientists thinkِ GSM pulse modulations mayِ haveِ adverse biological effects.
A review article inِ the April issue ofِ the journal BioElectroMagnetics byِ Jukka Juutilainen andِ colleagues atِ the University ofِ Eastern Finland suggested thatِ specific types ofِ RF modulation mayِ well haveِ biological consequences.

Wanted: more evidence

Do someِ mobile phone networks pose moreِ of a health risk thanِ others.
Clearly moreِ comparative studies areِ needed, Moskowitz said.
Moskowitz alsoِ thinks people shouldِ avoid keeping theirِ cellphones onِ inِ their pockets.