Is Radiation from Mobile Phones Harmful?


With the advent of wireless communication, the world has adopted many forms of technology starting with the very first commercial mobile phone in the world – the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X. Ever since then, the world has seemingly become smaller and ever more connected.

Radiation from Mobile Phones

Though mobile phones are a boon, the technology behind them is mired in controversy. The underlying theory is that all electronics give out some or the other forms of radiation. Studies have implied that these forms of radiation may increase the risk of cancer, but the supporting evidence is inconclusive.

But first, we need to understand what are the two major types of radiation and how they affect the human body:

Ionizing radiations, such as gamma rays and X-rays are powerful enough to decimate the human body. These radiations alter or completely destroy the DNA. This causes damage to the cells and greatly increases the risk of cancer. Hence, ionizing radiation is obviously bad for living tissue.

Non-ionizing radiation, on the other hand, is relatively harmless. But they do cause localized heating over a prolonged period of time. Moreover, this type of radiation can penetrate the skin but do not travel deep. However, if exposed to the eyes, it may cause some damage as they are more sensitive. This is the type of radiation that is emitted by most of our electronics and appliances.

As stated above, mobile phones emit non-ionizing radiation but these have never been documented to cause mutagenic changes. Mutagenic changes include alterations to the genetic material (DNA) and this is what causes various ill-effects in organisms. However, it does cause the tissues to heat up if subjected to long hours of exposure. In severe cases, it can cause burns too.

Current studies are rather limited in their scope and technological hurdles do hinder progress. Hence, we can conclude that non-ionizing radiation is relatively harmless when compared to ionizing radiation. However, prolonged exposure can cause some noticeable effects.

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