Non-Ionizing Radiation Term Paper 10 pages

Non-Ionizating Radiation

In recent years mobile telecommunication has developed to a large extent. It has been able to gain a place of importance in society. Encouraged on the basis of these developments the society on the whole is facing a humongous alteration. Now it is possible to access any individual in any part of the world where telecommunication has spread its roots. The latest technologies actually let us now to transfer huge amounts of data at a high speed, and allow us to have a voice conversation and the messaging service too, and it is not very far away when we would probably also be able to communicate through video and also have larger file data transfers. This makes it easier to make use of mobile videophones and also access the Internet through mobiles. Since mid-1980’s the nationwide cellular service has been introduced in the United States and the number of people who made use of the wireless increased tremendously. An estimate states that in the year 2001, nearly 16 million Americans were subscribers. By 2001, now nearly one hundred and ten million individuals are subscribers in the United States and more opportunity for growth is expected. But at the same time there is also the growing concern that these mobile telephones and their antennas are harmful for health. It was stated in the year 2000, that there would be nearly 92 million individuals using cell phones, which meant that the number of users increased by a million nearly every year. (Frumkin; Jacobson; Gansler; Thun; 2001)

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Though these technological advances and instruments have their advantage they also pose concern to several individuals. The most important concern is of whether the electromagnetic rays produced from these instruments would cause danger to the people using them. The most common discussion in this field is that technology is changing rapidly and that man cannot adapt to these changes as quickly as the changing technology. There fore it has become very essential to determine whether the human body can suit it self to these changes and to analyze and find out if there is any evidence to support this statement. The media has of lately been focusing the relationship between the mobile phones and brain cancer. Many network programs conducted their own tests and gave their reports stating that some mobile instruments emitted a lot more frequency radio Frequency (RF) in comparison to the level of emition that was permitted by the Federal Communications Commission Administration. (FCC). ( The FCC has made efforts since then to note that all the mobile phones used in the U.S. stayed within the limit of the RF energy. Again, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sees to it that these mobile phones do not affect the health of the individuals using them. These agencies also have the right to take action in case they feel if any company is overwriting the rules.

Where most concerns have been raised about electromagnetic waves or the EM and cancer with concentration on microwave (MW) or the radio frequency (RF) emission, there are other views, which states that it is the static magnetic fields that may ultimately cause cancer. Though there is not much theoretical or practical experiments conducted to prove this aspect, the exact truth cannot be really established as to the connection between static fields and human health hazards. The actual level of communication between the electromagnetic source and the biological material basically relies upon the frequency radiated by the source. X rays, the ultraviolet rays, visible light, MW/RF rays, the magnetic fields all have different levels of electromagnetic rays, but are all sources of electromagnetic energy. Their wavelength or frequency level can identify the difference in these sources. Most commonly electromagnetic spectrum is spoken of as waves of energy but this is not entirely correct as they are at times treated as particles, more than waves and this is actually true at a higher frequency. At these high frequency the UV and the X rays, have enough energy to break the chemical bonds. This breaking is called as ionization and it is this part of the electromagnetic spectrum that is called as ionizing.

The non-ionization of molecules has been always associated with the biological affects of X-rays. When the frequency is lower, such as that of visible light, the RF and the MW is very low to be able to disorder chemical bonds. This electromagnetic spectrum is called as non-ionizing. Since these non-ionizing electromagnetic energy cannot break chemical bonds there is no relation between these and the non-ionizing electromagnetic rays. But it is true that this non-ionizing electromagnetic energy can cause certain biological effects and the biological effects of these soft UV, visible and IR frequencies all rely on the photon energy that is emitted. But most of these consist of electronic excitation rather than ionization and most of these also do not occur at a frequency less than 3*10^11 Hz in terms of IR. These RF and MW radiations can cause heating in tissues in which they are in direct contact. It is the frequency of the source that determines the amount and the direction of the object being heated. The AM radio uses a frequency which is much below, 10^6 Hz, here the energy level is very low, and hence cannot cause any sort of damage to the human body or to animals. (Moulder and Foster, 1995)

Most studies relating to cancer and power lines deal with individuals who live near power lines or who work in electrical occupations. Some of these studies do show a very insignificant connection between their exposure to the power frequency magnetic fields and the actual cause for cancer. Many studies that were conducted recently go to prove that there is very irrelevant connection between the power lines and cancer. When scientists of the U.S. National Academy of Science conducted a review in 1996, they stated that ‘there is no proof to state that there is any connection between the two aspects’. The review conducted by the U.S. National Institute of Health reached the conclusion that, ‘there is no scientific evidence that suggest that there is any connection between these electromagnetic rays causing cancer’. Another review by the U.K National Radiation Protection Board, stated that ‘ by conducting experiments in laboratories we are not going to be successful in evaluating how these studies affect the human life and also there are evidences by human epidemiological studies conducted that the power lines do not in any way cause cancer’

The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection after conducting a review stated that ‘ since there is no proof of any occurrence of the disease from the studies conducted on both animals and human beings, it can be said that there is no relation between the chronic diseases and the power frequency fields’. The study conducted on childhood leukemia in 1997-2000 goes to prove that there is no relationship between power lines and childhood leukemia. Contradicting this study a number of studies in 2000 stated that, that if these power lines were properly measured than there is a distinct relation between the children suffering from leukemia and the actual influence that power lines has caused. At the same time, another series of studies proved that even if animals were kept in a high power frequency atmosphere even for their entire lifetime, it did not lead to cancer. Therefore, many scientists feel that there is no connection between the power lines and its contribution to cancer. (

The frequency for various wireless communication systems is different. In the United States as such, there are two main frequency ranges, the 850 Mhz which most old mobile instruments used, and the 1900 Mhz the one sued by most new personal communication systems. Most European mobile phones use the GSM technology, which is different from the mobiles used in the U.S., and operate at a frequency of 900 Mhz and 1800 Mhz. Most other instruments also generate the same amount of frequency. The energy generated from these instruments is called non-ionizing because they are said to have photon energy to remove atoms from living tissues, which may cause a lot of serious biological problems. The main reason these biological effects transmit RF energy is because they get heated up soon. The instruments are always sent under a check and the in the United States and other Western countries there are standards as to the level of RF energy that can be emitted. As of now, these only lead to tissue heating and are of not much concern and if mobiles with low power are used should not pose to be a threat. To identify the exact reason for cancer and the level of exposure to an individual is very difficult to identify, as there is no single diagnosis for the disease.

It is very important that we learn to discriminate between the biological and physiological and health effects. The mobile phone base station are mostly countered to low power, multi-channel two way radios, which actually means that when we are talking on a mobile connection we talk to a base station that is in turn sent to a landline system. As the conversation has to pass two ways the mobile phones and the base stations produce radio frequencies or RF radiation. Since the base station and the mobile units are both only short-range useable, the RF rays emitted from them are also pretty low. Most scientists both in the U.S. And in other nations agree that the radiations emitted form the mobile phones are too low to cause any sort of damage. When an experiment is being conducted as to the effect of the electromagnetic rays on the biological system, this does not mean that this will affect the health of the organism on the whole. To find out exactly it is essential that we measure the frequency levels by analyzing using sensitive measurements methods, using which even the most smallest change in reaction can be deducted. This helps us to realize that the human body on the whole has the competence to deal with external forces and also defy them if the need be, with the help of immune systems and also be able to acclimatize itself if the circumstances call for it. (

The main problem behind not being able to identify the exact cause for cancer is that most of the time there are different causes for the disease. But it is true that even if mobile phones were not actually responsible for cancer, looking at the number of people using it, and not to forget the actual rates of brain cancer prevalent in the U.S. which is said to affect six out of 100-000 people in a year, it is believed by many that several people will be affected by the disease. In order to actual diagnose this disease it becomes important that very vigilant studies be conducted. While investigating carcinogens, most health agencies base it on two different types of studies- the epidemiological studies and the standardized tests. The epidemiological studies are basically the statistics of existing studies and standardized are those that are conducted on animals. But none of the evidence even remotely related mobile phones and cancer.

There are some studies that suggest that RF radiation from hand-held mobile phones might cause subtle biochemical, physiological or behavioral changes. However, none of the studies provides substantial evidence that mobile phone base stations might pose a health hazard. Most of the reports are of “effects” that do not imply the existence of hazards. Most of the studies use RF radiation of intensity far above those associated with mobile phone base stations. Many of these reports have not been independently confirmed, and there are grounds for being skeptical about most of them. A few examples of these studies are Preece et al. reported that exposure of human volunteers to mobile phone RF radiation might decrease reaction times. (Preece; Iwi, 1999) The press coverage was extensive; but the actual study has no obvious implications for human health since the effect was seen for just one of many tests and it appears to be far too small to have any real functional significance. D’Andrea reviewed reports of the behavioral effects of RF radiation and concluded that: “Recent studies have suggested that microwave effects on specific cognitive aspects of behavior such as attention, learning, memory, discrimination, and time perception may occur at SAR levels far below the SARs needed to cause work stoppage.” (D’Andrea, 1999) Freude et al. exposed human volunteers to RF radiation from a GSM phone and found small changes in EEG that “did not indicate any influence on human performance, well-being and health.” (Freude, 2000)

There are quite a few studies that indicate that the RF rays from mobile phones may cause biochemical, physiological or behavioral damage. But none of these even goes close to mentioning that more than the mobile phones their base station probably would cause more harm. None of these studies even stated any damage by these stations. Most of these studies are still not fully accepted and are most controversial. A study by Preece et al. stated that when certain individuals were exposed to these RF rays then it decreased their reaction time. (Preece; Iwi, 1999) though the coverage done by the press was massive it did not have any proper basis to be based on. D’Andrea analyzed these reports and came to a decision that ‘ The studies just go to prove that the effect microwave effect on the human behaviour, attention, learning, memory occur at SAR level and in order to stop work the SAR levels would have to be very low. (D’Andrea, 1999). Freude et all, conducted a study in which he kept some volunteers in an atmosphere where there were radiations from a GSM mobile phone. The RF rays from the phone, ‘did not in any way affect the human performance or his health.’ (Freude, Ullsperger 2000)

When Rothman et al. conducted a study in 1996, to find out the health of nearly 250,000 mobile phone users they realized that that there was no difference between users of the hand held mobile phones which had their antennas attached close to the head and the other phones, the car phones, which had their antennae attached to the car. (Rothman; Loughlin, 1996) This same group conducted a study in 1999 where they analyzed the health of nearly 300,000 mobile phone users. This analysis proved that there was no difference in the health of individuals in regard to cancer, leukemia or brain cancer rates, while comparing individuals using the hand phones or the mobile phones. Even other studies have showed that there is no truth in the concept of mobile phones causing cancer or any epidemic disease. (Dreyer; Loughlin; Rothman, 1999) Four groups evaluated brain cancer in people using mobile phones in 1999-2001, the groups being, Hardell et al., Muscat et al.,(Muscat; Malkin, 2000), Inskip et al. (Inskip, 2001) and Johansen et al. (Johansen; Boice, 2001). These studies proved that there was relation between the mobile usage of these individuals and brain cancer

Lennart Hardell and a few of his colleagues from the Orebro Medical Centre in Orebro, Sweden, conducted a study on 209 patients who were suffering from brain tumor, in contrast to 425 other individuals who were healthy. This study was provided funding by the Swedish Medical Research council. ( The media did not do justice to this subject and they focused on the aspect that some of the individuals with brain tumor stated that they had the tumor on the side of the head that they used to talk on the phone. But this was could be really blamed to be the reason behind the whole problem as it was possible that those individuals could have been having a ‘recall bias’, a factor that states that individuals who are suffering with a diseases connect it to anything they feel could be viable. Most individuals who were suffering with brain cancer in Hardell’s analysis all had prior opinions on about their mobile usage. It is known fact that Brain cancer usually takes years or probably even ten years to actually develop. Another pullback in the study was the fact that the study did not emphasize on the future hazards. Usually to be able to diagnose cancer is not a simple task. In order to be able to diagnose the smallest increase in the danger faced by the individual it is essential that we conduct large studies that are both difficult to organize and also give us various elucidations that are tedious and confusing to comprehend. In order to have a proper study it would also be essential that a person’s usage of his mobile phone be observed for over a span of ten years that is both impossible and ridiculous along with the frequent technological changes. (Hardell; N. sman, 1999)

The only risks from these cell phones that can be stated as of now is the fact that these instruments have lead to a lot of accidents in the past few years when they have been used while driving. Mostly animals have been used to analyze the causes and reasons related to cancer, and even they have not proven any connection. When rats were left in an atmosphere where 837 Mhz RF energy was released, the level that is given out by most mobile phones, it was realized that this did not in any way instigate brain cancer. Motorola conducted this study, in order to get to the bottom of the truth. W.R Ross Adey in 1999 published this in the University of California at Riverside. Adey also conducted the same experiments for continuous wave RF that is used in some analog cellular phones. These were further supported by Bernard Zook of the George Washington University in Washington D.C. In a meeting in 1999. This also has lead to a conclusion by many individuals that cell phones are not to be blamed for any health problems as to date.

The biological affect that mobile phones have cannot be really found out, since they are very recent inventions. But the fact that these are non-ionizating radiators and that they transmit very low energy levels, the fact that these cell phones can be actual cause for cancer is very indistinct. And also the various studies conducted for the purpose also go to state that there is no real connection between the usage of cell phones and the cause for cancer. Though there is also no proof that can state that the usage of these instruments can be absolutely safe as the time span to actual analyze the entire process and its effects is too long to perform. This leads to believe the fact that the arguments and discussions as to the positive and negative aspects of these instruments shall continue. Various electronic devices like the police radar sets, computer display terminals and power lines have been of constant worry to the public and very soon the cell phone shall join the line of devices. It is very difficult to come to a decision and also consume a lot of precious time. In order to be true to society it is essential that we identify any problems that may be caused by a device in order to warn the general public. But the question that poses us in such a situation is that how can this be done while avoiding any unnecessary disagreements is not purely a matter of scientific importance but also which deep social bearings.


Frumkin, Howard; Jacobson, Anne; Gansler, Ted; Thun, Michael J. (2001) Environmental Carcinogens – Cellular Phones and Risk of Brain Tumors, CA Cancer J. Clin; 51: 137-141

Rothman, KJ; Loughlin et al., JE (1996) Overall mortality of cellular telephone customers. Epidemiology 7:303-305.

Dreyer, NA; Loughlin, JE; Rothman; KJ (1999) Cause-specific mortality in cellular telephone users. JAMA 282:1814-1816

Hardell, L; N. sman et al., A: (1999) Use of cellular telephones and the risk of brain tumors: a case-control study. Int. J. Oncol. 15:113-116.

Muscat, JE; Malkin et al., MG: (2000). Handheld cellular telephone use and risk of brain cancer. JAMA 284:3001-3007,

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Johansen, C; Boice et al.; JD: (2001). Cellular telephones and cancer — a nationwide cohort study in Denmark. J Natl Cancer Inst 93:203-207,

Moulder, JE; and Foster, KR: (1995) Biological effects of power-frequency fields as they relate to carcinogenesis. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 209:309-324,

D’Andrea, JA: (1999) Behavioral evaluation of microwave irradiation. Bioelectromag 20:64-74,

Preece, AW; Iwi et al., G: (1999) Effect of a 915-MHz simulated mobile phone signal on cognitive function in man. Int J. Radiat Biol 75:447-456,

Freude, G; Ullsperger et al., P. (2000): Microwaves emitted by cellular telephones affect human slow brain potentials. Eur J. Appl Physiol 81:18-27,

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