Author Nick Ely / Category Eletronics / Published: Nov-05-2022
Mobile phones have become an essential part of our daily lives in the modern world. Mobile phones are a tool to ease communication across distances, but as technology has evolved, so has our exposure to other radio frequencies; Radio, Wi-Fi, and 5G in our current urban environment.
Cellular phones have eased our daily tasks; however, the long-term effects of constant exposure to RF/EMR on vulnerable organs negatively impact one's health. The impact of RF-EMR on the human body is measured using a standardized unit known as specific absorption rate (SAR). SAR measures how much energy from radiofrequency (RF) waves is absorbed by human tissues and is calculated as watts per kilogram (W/kg) (Hochwald et al., 2014).
The International Commision on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP, 2020) recomends a limit of 2 W/kg for head and trunk exposure over 10 grams of tissue. However the United States Federal Communications Commission states that the SAR limit should not exceed 1.6 W/kg as averaged over one gram of tissue (Federal Communications Commission, 1996). In the case of Apple, they recommend us to “carry iPhone at least 15mm away from your body to ensure exposure levels remain at or below the as-tested levels.” As you can see, different device manufacturers and counties adhere to varying SAR recommendations but maintain a range to avoid damaging effects on human tissues.
The effect of these devices on human health is often overlooked, especially for vital tissues such as the brain and male reproductive organs. While short term exposure might not pose a threat to our health, the quesion still remains how much exposure is too much and in what proximity is RF determental to our health and vital tissues.
Studies conducted with rats that were exposed to mobile phone frequncies for 60 min/ day showed lower testostrone level compared to those with an exposure of 30 min/ day (Meo et al., 2010). However, another two studies (15%) reported no significant changes in testosterone level (Ribeiro et al., 2007; Çetkin et al., 2017). Ribeiro et al. (2007) reported this finding after exposing adult Wistar rats to low-intensity pulsed RF radiation from a mobile phone for a short period.
Proximity and Long Term Effect of Mobile Devices on Human Health
Toivonen et al. (2019) demonstrated that the ICNIRP limit for localized exposure (2 W/kg) could be reached if the distance between the antenna and the body is <24 cm. As a consequence, when people hold their phones next to their heads or wear them on their bodies, they may be exposed to very intense near-field radiation from the device at close or touching distances.
In human studies, the biological effect can be seen in higher-intensity RF-EMR emitted from a mobile phone over a longer period of exposure. The long-term use of 950 MHz mobile phones (6 years) can reduce testosterone levels (Eskander et al., 2012). SAR is distributed in a non-uniform way in the human body and is typically highest in the body part closest to the device (Faruque et al., 2011). For example, when men carry their phones in their side pockets, which are very close to their testicles, they expose their testicles to harmful RF-EMR (Okechukwu, 2018). Mobile phones placed less than 15 cm from the testes have a harmful SAR value on the testes (Bhat, 2017). As a result, the testicular function, including its endocrine function, may be affected.
In conclusion the data suggests that long term exposure (6 years) and in close proximity to sensative tissues can affect biological activity. Specifically for men, when you store your phone in your front pocket you may be exposing your testes to harmful levels of Radio Frequency. Long term RF exposure is not only the culprit to lower testosterone levels but depending where you store your phone can have a great impact on your health. While this article explores the effect of mobile devices in close proximity to the male reproductive system, the data reflects that being on the phone all day can also affect the bioactivity in your brain, since your head consists of many sensative tissues.
Limiting your exposure to mobile devices and Wi-Fi can affect the damage it has on your body and sensitive tissues alike. When you are not using your phone or Wi-Fi router, you can always shield it with faraday material and limit exposure. Since it is nearly impossible to block all RF exposure in the current urban environment, we can at least moderate our interaction with RF exposure by being conscious of its impact on our body and limiting our exposure with the use of faraday materials. Mission Darkness gives you the agency to protect yourself from EMR exposure. We feature many different faraday adaptations to ease daily life. Whether you are protecting yourself from your phone in your pocket or placing your router in a faraday bag when not in use, the possibilities for faraday technology are limitless. Check out our DIY project, where we design a sleek Faraday Phone Pouch that slips seamlessly into your pocket.
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