There has been an unprecedented surge in the use of mobile phone technology in recent times. As of 2015, there are 7.4 Billion subscribers to mobile networks throughout the world.

The type of radiation emitted from mobile phones in electro-magnetic radiation, which travels in the form of waves, and is emitted from mobile phones because they use radio-frequency waves (RF waves) in order to make and receive calls.

Despite extensive research on the subject, there has been no conclusive evidence that using a mobile phone causes long term harmful effects in humans.

The pace of mobile phone technology is advancing at a far quicker pace than the research required into the potential harm they can cause; much more research is needed (and is being undertaken) before we can know for certain the effects they have on human health.


Studies have shown that exposure to the RF waves emitted from mobiles can cause:

  • Slightly raised blood pressure at the time of use, pressure returning to normal when use is stopped (to put this into perspective, our blood pressure changes regularly throughout the day and is even affected by tasks such as speaking)
  • Direct brain warming after prolonged use, which disperses as soon as you stop using your phone and causes no harm
  • Mild fatigue after prolonged use
  • A recent study in Sweden suggested that acoustic neuromas (benign tumours of the acoustic nerve) are twice as common in mobile phone users than in those who do not use mobiles. There is no evidence that using a mobile phone causes:
  • Tumours
  • Memory impairment
  • Cancer
  • Brain damage
  • Foetal damage

The health risk is considered to be very, very small, although some individuals may be more susceptible to radiation than others.

Regardless of the area exposed to the continuous radiation emitted by your cell phone, there’s the potential for harm, although certain areas are clearly more vulnerable than others.

Whilst it’s true that excessive exposure to RF waves causes heat to be generated, the spoof claims you may have heard about being able to cook an egg using a mobile phone are entirely false.

Nevertheless, mobiles do emit low doses of radiation so common sense dictates that precaution should be taken when using them.


Simple precautions to reduce the levels of radiation you absorb from using your phone include:

  • Moving your phone 20cm away from your head reduces radiation doses by about 98%. So instead of placing it under your pillow when going to bed, leave the phone at a bedside table.
  • Hands free headsets dramatically reduce radiation emissions into the brain
  • Try not to chat for hours on end or, if you must, get a hands free kit
  • There are a few devices on the market that you can fit to your phone that reduce the emissions of radiation or allow the body to neutralise the effects, but beware of over-hyped promotions by these manufacturers using scare tactics to market their products.
  • It’s always sensible to take precautions where children are concerned as their developing brains and bodies are far more susceptible to radiation effects than adults, absorbing radiation at three times an adult’s rate.

Dr. Annie

Physician, mom and wife

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