Do Mobile Phones Emit Harmful Radiation?

sickgurgleMobile - Wireless

Nov 12, 2013 (3 years and 7 months ago)


Kyhan Abraham

Candidate Number: 5110


Do Mobile Phones Emit Harmful Radiation?


Since the introduction of mobile phones it has revolutionised the way people conduct business
d communicate with each other. The i
ntroduction of mobile phones from 1973,

was geared
towards a specific
market that market of
, business people. It was thought that this method of
communication would help business people, to become more productive especially when
organising and attending meetings. This allowed better access to,
directors of companies. This
was the main reasoning expressed by mobile phone companies.

However after mobiles being developed, about 20 years later in the early 1990s concerns
emerged about
“the adverse effects to people’s health and well
being due to (mo

The real revolution came when mobile phones, became accessible to the ordinary man or
woman on the street. This then caused competition for British Telecom, (BT) and their
domination of the telecommunication industry. This resulted in you n
o longer needing a fixed
telephone line, to receive and make phone calls. It was now possible to receive and make calls,
while being on the move. The telephone became portable.

The introduction of pay as you go phones, took telecommunication to new heights
. Now almost
anyone in the country could have a telephone, regardless of their age or social status. Having a
telephone became possible without having to negotiate a contract with your choice of network.
This opened up a whole new market, for the telecommu
nication companies as access to young
people, was now available to them as well as the toy companies.


Goggin Gerard, Cell Phone Culture, Routledge

Kyhan Abraham

Candidate Number: 5110


The emission of radio waves plays a significant role, in how effective wireless communication is.
However, this also meant the potential for radiation em
ission increased along with the success
that the mobile revolution brought. Especially as, more
people began using mobile phones. Concerns have been
about the potential harmful effects that radiation emitted
mobile phone masts as they rec
eive and send signals,
an to other mobile communication devices. This has led to many protests where councils have
been forced, to cancel or deny planning permission for the putting up of telephone
aerials/masts. An example of this is,
protest in Dubl
in where an
“18.5 metre high mast was erected
on the grounds of TEK United Football Club at Rockford Park in Stradbrook by the Meteor mobile
phone company late last year without planning permission.

Following an outcry by local residents the council instr
ucted Meteor to remove the mast but the
company has since applied for retention planning permission.

Locals launched a campaign opposing the application to retain the structure, which will be located
within metres of residential homes, local schools and a

This project will be used to scientifically find out if, the fears of harmful radiation being emitted
from mobile phones are justified. Hopefully here we can gain a better understanding, of
er or not harmful radiation is

emitted through
mobile phones and if so, how much of a
problem this can cause for humans.

Continuing, mobile phones have also been suggested to cause mental issue
s within our current
society. This is because,

they have been referred to as
“offering new pathways for the
circulation of anxieties, as well as themselves being triggers of moral panic.”

It has been suggested, that radiation emitted from a mobile phone can be so high, that it is
possible to cook an egg. Therefore, the experiment will be repeated to see whether

or not this
is a hoax and a deeper insight

will hopefully be provided

as to whether or not mobile phones
are as dangerous, as they are sometimes made out to be.




Goggin Gerard, Cell Phone Culture, Routledge

Kyhan Abraham

Candidate Number: 5110


Do Mobile Phones Emit Harmful Radiation?

With the advancement of mobile technology, especial
ly wireless technology and its increasing
use mainly by the youth of today, there have been mounting concerns to the youths health and
the environment. There have been many reports on the radiation emitted from mobile phones,
which obviously exposed them t
o a lot of criticism, due to the fact that the youth of today
appear to spend more time using mobile phones more than the older generations. There have
been reports, which indicate that harmful radiation is emitted from mobile phones equally, on
the other
hand, there have been reports that suggest the radiation levels are not high enough
to cause any harm to humans. Yet subsequently the one thing that both sides of the report
agree on is, these devices do emit radiation. However the issue they have is wheth
er or not, the
radiation emitted from these devices are enough to cause a health related issue within the
ordinary man or woman who use a mobile frequently.

Interestingly enough microwaves, do not seem to have had that much controversy about them
yet they
use high enough radiation levels to heat our food, therefore why haven’t they been
the centre of any discussions or debates regarding health related issues from radiation affecting

Within our homes, we will find radio waves being emitted every day

and as well as all through
the night when we are asleep. We will find radio waves wherever we; live, work and play,
therefore it comes to us as no surprise that there is such an interest in the radio waves being
emitted from the products we use, in our da
ily lives.

What Is Radiation and It’s Uses?

Radiation can be found in many of the items, that we use everyday such as; televisions and
mobile phones as having been mentioned before. This then draws out the question, what is
radiation, and how is it trans
mitted? Radio waves are used to transmit signals, to other devices.
This signal is transmitted, through the atmosphere
leaving a trail that is capable of conducting

Some radiation
can be harmful to human beings and too
many other
ving things,


sustained radiation
levels are also
necessary for the continuation of life on

Kyhan Abraham

Candidate Number: 5110


The sun for example, is one of the biggest emitters of radiation which is a giver of life on Earth,
but can also be a taker of life on Earth. Radiat
ion from the sun is in the form of heat, or what is
known as thermal radiation in the sciences. Thermal radiation is needed; for the growth of
plants, photosynthesis in plants, to keep humans warm and to balance nature. This therefore
shows that radiation
is not as bad, as people make it out or consider it to be. However, the
radiation from the sun may provide life on Earth, but like many things can also destroy that life
through a rise in temperature and direct contact from ultraviolet waves that now go th
the ozone layer.

Radiation can also used to take a photo, which is done in the form of X
rays and is used to check
the body for any damage. The X
ray photos are created from, the radiation emitted from the
body which is then shown clearly when blown
up, so any damaged areas can be identified
clearly. “
Medical X
rays are a significant source of

radiation exposure

Radiation also


naturally due to atmospher
ic activity, such as the death of

a star. This
shows that we are exposed to differ
ent levels of radiation every day, as

when the planets were
formed. Anyway when looked at in a simplistic way r
adiation effectively is a mass of energy
being transmitted in the atmosphere, in the form of a wave over a vacuum.

How Dangerous Is Radiation?

When we speak of radiation, we often think of nuclear weapons and
radiation fallout. The truth is,

we are more likely to be affected by
radiation from appliances in our home, than from a nuclear war. It is more
common for people to be in contact with, radiation for medical treatment
than radiation from nuclear weapons. An example of this being the fact

that, many forms of cancer are treated with radiation. Radiation from the
sun can and does, cause cancer. This is evident as, every year thousands
of people are diagnosed with skin cancer caused by the sun.

Basal cell
carcinoma and squalors cell carcinom
a are the two major forms of non
melanoma skin cancer. Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to


Kyhan Abraham

Candidate Number: 5110


age 65 will have either skin cancer at least once.”

There have been many reports that the radiation
from mobile phones can cause brain tumours from e
xtensive use.
“Using a cell phone causes the risk of
getting a brain tumour called a glioma to rise by 40 to 270 percent on the side of the head preferred
for using the phone

Health Risks/Non Risks

It is hard to access information, due to the fact
that mobile technology is advancing at a faster rate than
the research that is being done. Although, phones emit low doses of radiation, doctors still advise them
to be used with caution. Caution is advised due to the fact that, radio frequency waves emitt
ed can

slightly raised blood pressure at the time of use,

but the blood
pressure returning to normal
when use is stopped. This is usually overlooked due to the fact that, our blood pressure


even by
simple tasks such as speaking.

Some brain warming takes place ,
after using the phone for a long time.
The brain then cools down, after the use of a phone has stopped.

Mild fatigue can also be
used, after using a phone for a long time. However, mobile phone research
has proven that t
he electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones do not cause; tumours, memory
impairment, cancer or brain damage.

However if you still personally feel
, that safety precautions

are still necessary and actions should still be
carried out in order to protect
, then doing things such as;
“Moving the phone ere the15cm or
more from your head reduces the amount, of radiation your are exposed to by 98%”

Mobile Antennas/Masts

Some people have been led to believe
, that

mobile antennas emit harmful levels of

due to the logical thought of; mobiles connected to it and surprisingly they are never put
around civilization.

A mobile mast is of a similar build to a lamppost, or telegraph pole. All three are recognised as a
free standing structure, they u
sually stand at an approximate height of 15 metres high.
“A mast




Kyhan Abraham

Candidate Number: 5110


is a freestanding structure which supports antennas at a height where they can transmit and
receive radio waves.”

It therefore comes as no surprise that these masts come in various
shapes and

sizes. They are also painted to blend in the environment, where they are left to
stand. Masts are often placed on the roofs of tall buildings, or left to stand on a 15m pole.

mobile phones rely o

a strong signal to allow it to function as a communic
ation device, as it is
a known fact


a signal needs to be sent and received and then connected to allow
communication. Mobile phones also rely on an aerial, whether internal or external for
transmission of radio signals.

Radio frequency signals whic
h are transmitted through the air are emitted from masts, and
made out of electromagnetic waves. These electromagnetic waves t ravel at the speed of light.
These electromagnetic waves are a load of
“energy that consists of related magnetism and

These electromagnetic waves are made by putting an alternating voltage into
practice to a transmitting antenna.

Continuing research has shown that for us to receiver a high enough level of radiation, we need
to be almost touching a mobile mast. Another factor protecting us is, the fact that the mobile
masts are
well above the height of the living environment of huma
, therefore they offer only
a small threat to us, but not enough for
us to be severely affected by then
. Figures show, that at
about 10m away the dose of radiation is miniature at a percentage rate of 0.1%.

Past Experiments

In July 2007 an experiment
was carried out in an attempt to prove, that mobile phones emit
harmful radiation levels. It was considered, and seemingly proven that two mobile phones
emitted enough radiation to fully cook, an uncooked egg.

In the experiment, they used; an uncooked egg
and two mobile phones

Kyhan Abraham

Candidate Number: 5110


The results showed us, that after the call began it took 25 minutes for the egg to heat up. Once
45 minutes had passed, the eg
g increased in temperature and actually became hot. However it
took the egg a further 20 minutes to be fully cooked. Therefore, the experiment was completed
after 1 hour and 5 minutes.

Pros and Cons To Radiation

Radiation can be both a good and bad thing.
An example of this is the fact that, radiation can be
a cure to some cancers in the form of chemotherapy. On the other hand, it can also lead skin
cancer which is caused by non
ionising radiation from ultraviolet (UV) rays. Radiation can also
come in many
different forms. However, the two main groups it is categorized into are natural
radiation and manmade radiation.

Chemotherapy is

used to treat cancer

by using, the exposure of raw radiation in the form of x
rays to destroy and paralyze cells causing the c
ancer. The x
rays can also be used, to shrink the
size of a tumour to a suitable size for it to be removed from the body without causing any forms
of damage to the patient receiving treatment.

An example of a natural source of radiation is terrestrial radiation. Terrestrial radiation is
emitted from the Earth and its soil. However, the level of terrestrial radiation varies across
Kyhan Abraham

Candidate Number: 5110


different parts of the Earth, suggesting that terrestrial radiatio
n increases at specific points of
the world.

Some people were also fearful of the electromagnetic radiation emitted from mobile phones.
This was because, of the fact that people when speaking

on the phone would clasp it to their
heads and carried it close
to their body constantly, i.e. in a pocket, around their necks and even
on belts. People actually believed, that mobile

“could raise the temperature of tissue
and organs.”

Interview with Mr. Grattan


What is radiation?


Energy which can be transmitted across a vacuum in waves.


Do you believe phones are dangerous?


Richard Branson uses a lead sheet, to prevent microwaves passing through his head when using his

Also, when governments set up receiving and
transmitting masts they keep away from school.
Therefore, there must be some sort of health risk or a danger to health.


Do you believe mobile phone radiation levels, have increased?


People are on them for longer and more frequently, so you would

assume so.


Goggin Gerard, Cell Phone Culture
, Routledge

Kyhan Abraham

Candidate Number: 5110



Finally are there cures for radiation?

Depends on the type of radiation. At the moment, the main problem is tumours; which can be
treated with radiotherapy. Unfortunately this doesn’t work well. In other words, there are cures for
em but they are not as effective as we would like them to be.

Some hazards or danger to health that, Mr. Grattan could be referring to from above include, radiation
dermatitis, cataracts
, which involves the failure of different types of organs. Yet the
se failures do not
occur, until many years after exposure. However if you are exposed to a massive amount of radiation,
this is then known as radiation sickness.

Some radiation may not cause damage, but may then turn out to cause damage due to increasing
dosages; therefore it is good to be aware of what things emit harmful radiation levels.

An example, of a radiation illness that increases with the
dosages is cancer.
Cancer is caused, by the effect on cells from high energy
levels of radiation. In

words, this causes a mutation/difference in the
cellular make up of a

A famous example of a mutation caused by radiation is
the 3 eyed fish in the
Simpsons, which came across because of a leak from the nearby Power Plant from its nuclear reactors
used this difference.


Smith Tony, The British Medical Association, Complete Family Encyclopaedia, 1995, Pg 852

Kyhan Abraham

Candidate Number: 5110


Mutated Radiated Cell

The illustration below shows the process, of a mutated cell caused by exposure to radiation. It
is highly possible that a mutated radiate cell can alter the genetic makeup of living things.
Mutated or alte
red genes can be passed from parent
to child.

Each child inherits half of their genetic
information from their mother and half from their father.
In the case of human beings, a child inherits 23
chromosomes from their mother and 23 from their father,
a total of 46 chromosomes (23 pairs).”

This therefore
supports my opinion of the fact that parents can
sometimes cause problems for their children by their type
of lifestyle, and exposing themselves to specific harmful
things. Therefore by them interfering with things that can
alter their cells

within their body, they could also be playing with the future of their offspring’s.


With reference to data I have collected, approximately 245,225 had been recognised as to having
leukaemia or are awaiting to be diognosed with it, in 2008. Whi
lst in 2009 44,790 new cases of
leukaemia had been counted, and possibly more that had been overlooked. It was said that within those
2 years, Chronis leukaemia was 11 percent higher in terms of accounted cases, than Acute Leukaemia.

The pie chart is
used to highlight the level of
ionising radiation, which we are naturally exposed
to in the form of cosmic radiation.
radiation is one of the many different sources
of natural radiation. Cosmic radiation is
emitted by the sun and
other spat
ial matte
However due to the fact that our sun and
other stars are so far away from us on Earth,
we do not feel any effects or little of the
effects as the radiation often gets lost in
space, or reflects of our ozone layer.


Kyhan Abraham

Candidate Number: 5110


Assuming mobile phones do emit harmful

levels of radiation, it would lead us to believe that
mobile phones are partly responsible for some levels of cosmic radiation. This would be due to
the fact that, some mobile connection masts are in space and emit things to the Earth’s
inhabitants. There
fore while emitting signals to the Earth’s inhabitants; it is highly likely that
these signals also emit levels of cosmic radiation to the Earth as well.

Cells in the body are formed, containing a neutral charge. Therefore assuming that mobiles do
emit h
armful levels of radiation, if they affect our cells eventually our cells will become
positively charged. This will result in the ionising of the cells, causing DNA to mutate, which can
also result in death through radiation poisoning.

It is believed that

a disturbance in cellular
activity results from the chemical changes caused by ionization”

This quote therefore supports my
initial thoughts of ionization causing radiation poisoning was correct.

By ionization I mean the physical
process of converting an



into an

by adding or
removing charged particles
such as

or other ions

Mobile phones emit a radio frequency wave, which is a non
ionizing form of radiation. The
frequency of this

is extremely low and not able to cause ionization within tissue.
However, it could possibly impact on someone’s health in other ways. Common types of non
ionizing radiation include; ultraviolet (UV) rays, visible light, microwaves, infra red radiation,
ectromagnetic fields, radio frequency radiation, heaters, electrical appliances and mobile
phones. Of all the non
ionizing radiations, mention above UV rays are recognised as the most
dangerous as they cause skin cancer.

Radio frequency radiation is emitt
ed from radio broadcasts transmitters, citizen band radios
and heaters are all thought to contain, small amounts of exposure to radiation.

Mobile phones emit small amounts of low frequency electromagnetic radiation. This is the
reason why people believe t
hey emit harmful radiation levels, which are thought to cause
cancers such as leukaemia. In addition to this, “
1999 the National Institute of Environmental
Health Sciences (NIEHS) released results of an extensive 6
year study stating that the evidence f
or a
risk of cancer and other human disease from the electric and magnetic fields (EMF) around power lines
is "weak" but could not totally be discounted, and efforts to reduce exposur
es when possible should



Kyhan Abraham

Candidate Number: 5110


Due to this research which has been c
arried out, and the fact that mobile phones have been
linked to EMF it is said that mobile phones could possibly be linked to the following tumours;
malignant (can cause cancer) brain tumours such as gliomas, non cancer causing tumours of the
brain such as

meningiomas, non cancer causing tumours of the nerve connecting the brain to
the ear, and non cancer causing tumours of the salivary glands.

The tumours which have been listed above, and where patients have had these symptoms, a
monitoring process has bee
n put into place. This was been done to establish, whether or not
there is a connection between their illness and their usage of mobile phones. Therefore as a
result these cases imply the opposite, of what everyone first considered to be the truth.

These c
ases have therefore shown that brain tumours were less common, with those that used
mobile phones. The following research therefore suggests that mobile phones have little effect
on the individuals that use them. The study indicates to us that, there is li
ttle correlation if any
between the usage of mobile phones and the chances of having cancer, or developing a

My Personal Experiment

The aim

of this experiment was to investigate
, whether or not

the experiment carried out in
July 2007
, was true or

To begin with, I took an egg from my fridge and placed it in an egg cup.

I then proceeded to call
my mother’s phone from my own and surrounded the egg by the two phones, engaged in a
phone call. I placed the two phones in containers to keep them uprig
ht, and proceeded with the
experiment from there.

After about 5

minutes, I checked to see if there had been a temperature change, and I felt the
egg beginning to adjust to the room temperature, but still felt as though it had been taken from
the fridge.

I then continued to record the experiment, and after about 15 minutes checked the
egg again. By now, the egg was not as cold as it was before, yet there was still not a dramatic
change in temperature suggesting that the egg was still adjusting to room tem

The next time I checked the egg was 30 minutes later into th
e experiment, by this tim
e the egg
still felt the same as it
had felt, at the 15 minute mark. This

that any change from here

would come from the effec
ts of radiation

or from the body heat emitted from my hands,
onto the egg from all the contact it was coming into from the palm of my hands.

Kyhan Abraham

Candidate Number: 5110


However, I continued the experiment

to match the length of the original experime
nt which
lasted, 65 minutes or an

hour and 5 minut

Which resulted in me checking the egg after 45
minutes, here I began to feel a slight difference as the egg was beginning to become warmer.

In the end, I ended the experiment after 66 minutes or an hour and one minute.

At the end of
my experiment, alt
hough the egg was still cold it was fairly close to becoming warm. This
therefore suggested that the egg was beginning to rise in temperature. Yet, I was unable to
decide whether this was from the radiation levels emitting from the phones in the form of
ectromagnetic waves, or whether it was from continuously coming into contact with the palm
of my hand when checking whether there had been a slight temperature change in the egg.

To make my experiment more valid,
instead of checking

the egg by using the pa
lm of my hand
and relying on my sense of touch, I should’ve used a thermometer to check the temperature.
method, would have given a more

accurate reading as to how hot the egg had become,
and whether or not there was an increase in temperature and wha
t that increase was. On the
other hand, I would have also been able to accurately measure the starting and ending
temperature of
the egg. This therefore would have

allowed me to calculate the accurate range
in temperature of the egg.

Also, to increase the
reliability of the
data used and edited, I could have

followed the exact
steps as used in the initial experiment. This therefore would’ve have improved my experiment
overall. This therefore shows

I have

acknowledged steps, in w
hich to improve my

Therefore showing
the analysis
which has taken place in the studying of my personal

Future Mobile Technology

Mobile technology will most certainly advance in the near future, due to the way in which other
technologies have begun to develop.

An example of this would be the film industry. This shows
a clear development in an area of technology as, films use to be silent pictures, this then
developed to motion pic
tures, which developed to
coloured motion pictures, and finally in the

century the development of 3d films,
showed to us that the film industry had
taken film
technology to a completely

new level.

This shows
from the later part of the 19

century to the beginning of the 21

, that
cinema technology has


ver 200 years

Further research shown has already suggested a dramatic development in mobile phone
technology as, the new IPhone produced by the Apple Company has now been given the new
Kyhan Abraham

Candidate Number: 5110


Sky + application.

This allows y
ou to view the next 7 days

of the Sky
TV channel guide
. You can
either view all the channels or

selecting a certain genre in terms of programmes (much like you
would using your Sky Remote) such as Entertainment/Sports/Movies/Docu

It is clear, that mobile phones have also developed a
nd will continue to develop as; in late 2007
something called the O2 Wallet began to be developed.

The O2

was a modified mobile
phone that acted as a mobile, a credit card and an oyster

The O2 wallet like a normal
oyster, when tapped on to a
card reader deducts the relevant amount of money. This is
therefore a creative and useful device, as it is a 3 in 1 technological device that seems to have
no faults.


suggests to us, that mobile phones will surely develop in

the near future but to wha
t extent
is simply unclear

Another reason as to why it is
clear, that mobile phones are most l
ikely to
develop into a

different derivative of the initial blueprints of the mobile phone. This

because, when you compare

current phones su
ch as

the Blackberry
, or the Nokia E71 and the
most famou
s of them

all the

3GS. All the listed phones all have a configuration and
similar applications to that of a normal computer or laptop.

This shows how
mobile phones

have come a long way from produ
cing high level of radiations,
from an external aerial
, and have now
become a pocketsize computer upon which you

open your work where ever


when ever, therefore being more like a handheld laptop due to
the advantage, of mobile phones being portable.

This would suggest that with the development of mobile phone technology, that the emission
of radiation would be reduced as you would expect that along with these improvements, the
electromagnetic waves producing

would have been addressed in rel
ation to the well
being of the user.


In my opinion, I persona

believe that mobile phones may emit levels of radiation. However
these levels of radiation are not the high, dangerous, harmful levels the media wants us to
believe they are. I




they are equivalent to the harmless microwave waves,
emitted from microwaves in our kitchens.


Kyhan Abraham

Candidate Number: 5110


Continuing the argument put forward, was I felt a relevant one as mobile phones are the
current technology that
continues to

constantly evolving,
therefore such a topic was highly
relevant as these devices are key roles in our day to day lives.

Also the experiment I did myself aided me in my decision of considering mobile phones to be,
blown out of prop
ortion in terms of the fact of them being consi
dered to release harmful levels
of radiation. I was able to come to the conclusion, that they may emit some levels of radiation,
but not as much as we first considered it to be.

Although the initial experiment spoken

may make mobile phones seem like
a dangerous
device disguised as something harmful. I personally believe that it was not fully true, and was
therefore partly a hoax presented by th
e media, to get civilization in

over whether or not
mobile phones, were actually a dangerous piece of
technology which was presented as a
harmless, useful day to day item.

So it would seem that there are many potential devices such as global positioning system
receivers, wireless friability, Bluetooth devices, computers, electrical appliances and over 2000

satellites orbiting our planet in outer space. This suggests that we could potentially be
surrounded by radiation that is constantly harmful and it may not be only mobile phones that
are causing illnesses.

I also believe that if mobile phones were ever li
nked with emitting harmful levels of radiation, it
was back when they were a new part of technology due to the aerial. I now

that, that
level of radiation is no longer as serious as it was before and in time, mobile phones emitting
radiation will e
ventually be nothing of the past as, this interesting part of technology develops.

In concluding, based on my personal research and the experiment carried out by myself in
relation to whether mobile phones emit harmful levels of radiation, it has become ap
that the levels of radiation mobile phones were first considered to emit were inaccurate and in
fact they emit a level of radiation, that has no significant effect on humans which suggests, that
mobile phones do not emit harmful levels of radiation.

On the other hand, it is quite possible
that the early mobile phones may have emitted harmful levels of radiation. However due to the
continuing development of technology

the levels of radiation, no longer pose a significant
threat to the health of

Kyhan Abraham

Candidate Number: 5110



Goggin Gerard, (2006), Cell Phone Culture
, Routledge

Parsons Jayne, (1997), Illustrated Family Encyclopaedia Volume, Dorling
Kindersley Limited

Smith Tony,

1997), The British Medical Association Complete Family Health
, Dorling Kindersley Limited
, 22

March 2010.
, 17

March 2010.,39029453,49294493,00.htm
, 25

March 2010.
, 18

December 2009.
, 18

December 2009.
, 20

December 2009.
, 10

January 2010.