Monday, June 23, 2014

What a radiating world of gadgets!

What a radiating world of gadgets!

Saman Haziq / 23 June 2014
In a world punctuated by an ever-increasing number of gadgets, a study finds that electromagnetic field radiations coming from multiple gadgets and multiple directions overlap, and have serious long-term and short-term risks. 

Does your day start by the alarm you set on your mobile phone? Do you keep your cellphone under your pillow or just by your side for that ‘moral’ consolation? Are you one of those who likes to heat up your cup of milk or water in the microwave? And once you have your cuppa ready, is it laptop time for you?

Better late than never (Dos and Don’ts)
> Keep your phone away from yourself while sleeping. If you want to put an alarm on it then put it on airplane mode first.
> Don’t keep your phone in your pocket all the time. Keep it at a distance of at least 15mm from your body.
> Keep calls short and if at all you have a long call to make, then use a wired headset and not a Bluetooth set.
> Try using the landline more than a cellphone.
> Don’t give your phones to your kids to play as their skulls are thin and radiowaves travel through your child’s brain.
> When signals are low on your phone, avoid using it as the phone is radiating at a maximum level to get connectivity.
> When using the microwave, close its door and step away. And when you turn it off, pause a few seconds and then open its door.
According to Dr Vikas Inder Nath Nehru, specialist ENT and head and neck surgeon, there are several long term risks associated with radiation emanating from gadgets.

Electromagnetic Field (EMF) radiation is increasingly affecting our daily lives, said Dr Nehru, and narrated a case study of a 39-year-old “perfectly healthy” sound engineer, who visited him complaining of dizziness and a burning sensation around his ear for the past eight months. “He felt he was riding an ocean wave ... (He) experienced sleeplessness, headaches, ringing sensations, tiredness, muscle aches, delayed reaction time, lost focus, affected memory, distraction (and the) ground felt wobbly (to him).
“We put him through a regular test drill with neurological examination and some more tests and found (he was) ... suffering from a high frequency sensory hearing loss. He had tried lots of drugs ... vitamins ... but nothing worked. He said he spent around Dh30,000 on his illness with no relief,” Dr Nehru said.

Dr Nehru advised the patient to take a six-week leave from his job, stop using his cellphone during that period, turn off WiFi and to visit him for a check up after six months. It worked and the engineer returned saying he felt a “lot better”.

Dr Nehru said the incident prompted him to dig deeper into cellphone radiation and the dangers associated with it.

Energy a cordless phone emits
Quoting a study conducted by a famous German scientist, Dr Nehru said if a cordless phone is ringing two rooms away from you then the intensity of the energy emitted from its signals is equivalent to the energy of the sound a Boeing 707 produces! “It’s as if you are sleeping on your pillow and a Boeing 707 aircraft is right over you,” he said.

We are surrounded by EMF
Focusing his study on cellphones, iPads, iPods, microwave ovens, wireless routers, laptops, desktops, cordless phones, tablets etc, Dr Nehru said EMF radiations come from multiple gadgets from multiple directions and are overlapping.

Fact box
> Radiation exposure in your surroundings can be measured in concrete terms
> As a result of exposure, you acquire a positive charge (body voltage) in your body, which can also be measured.
> The above two will diagnose how much you are affected and several preventive measures tailored to your requirements can be suggested.
Some of the short-term effects of such radiations are headache, sleeplessness, confusion and the inability to concentrate. Long-term exposure can lead to brain and salivary gland tumours, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and Parkinson’s disease. He said there is no “safe dose” of usage.

In 2004, there were 1.2 million cell phones and the number has now gone up to 4.3 billion. This means that almost 80 per cent of the world’s population is using cellphones.
The WiFi effect
Indian actor and social activist Juhi Chawla in a recent video posted on YouTube said the cellphone is a fantastic piece of technology but it must be used with care and restraint. Chawla has been the face of a campaign against the indiscriminate installation of mobile tower antennae and the harmful effects of EMF radiation.

Chawla explained that phones with WiFi radiate at a higher speed as they are constantly downloading data.

Cellphones and cordless phones keep emitting frequencies all the time whether they are being used or not. And the worst time is when one is sleeping as our bodies are stationary, and radiations around us are constantly affecting us.

Microwave radiation
Although, microwave radiation is non-ionising, it produces thermal effects. It breaks up atoms in food, heats them up and dries the water. Cellphone radiations do exactly the same. Its thermal effect can dry up our body liquid. Now, factor in the fact that an average human body is made up of 60-65 per cent water.

Dr Nehru said that microwave is less of a problem as energy is contained in a box and continues only for a short period. Whereas in a WiFi or cellphone, it is not contained; it is open, exposed and is pulsed, which means that the radio frequency is continuous and ongoing all the time. It is all the more harmful to use the cell phone in a car, train or an elevator as the metal sheet you are surrounded by acts like a microwave oven.

Cellphone is not a toy!
Some parents say schools have made it compulsory for kids to have or interact with mobile gadgets to revamp education.

Pakistani national Mahmood said his five kids are all hooked to the iPhone — even his one-year-old, who “loves touching the screen”.

“My kids are sometimes required to work on iPads and laptops at school. My eldest son Ali, 14, takes his iPad to school as he says he doesn’t have time to go to the computer lab and would rather research on his iPad in his classroom, which has excellent WiFi.

I feel it’s important for them because they are constantly gathering information and moving forward.”

Dr Nehru said children are a special-risk group as they absorb more energy compared to adults. Their skulls are thinner and the distance radio frequency has to travel is shorter. Their absorption power is more and the immune system is still developing.

All forms of wireless radiations can also affect the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for learning new tasks.

Four-year-old Aariz loves playing games on his iPad, while his sister Aiza, 7, is a pro at using it. Their parents, Talha and Irum Siddiqui, said they have limited the use of these gadgets as they recently heard from someone that kids’ fingerprints can get affected if they constantly touch their iPad or touch-screens of phones.

Juhi Chawla advised that it would be helpful if you could put your phone or iPad on the ‘airplane mode’ before giving it to your child.

Stance of world health authorities
Studies show that dangers of WiFi are much more than those of wired gadgets.

Several associations like the International Committee on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and the World Health organisation (WHO) have been conducting studies on the issue and had initially said that there is no substantial proof that EMF radiation is hazardous to human health. ‘‘On May 31, 2011, WHO changed its stance and now says that wireless radiation is ‘Category B2 Carcinogenic’, which means that it  is “possible” that it can cause cancer. It now lists mobile phone use in the same ‘carcinogenic hazard’ category as engine exhaust, chloroform and lead.’’

The ICNIRP has said that six minutes per day is a safe limit for cell phone use.

Rise in autism cases
Dr Nehru pointed to the statistical increase in incidents of autism in the last few years; every five years, the incidents seemed to have doubled. The only thing that has happened in the last 15 or 20 years is the WiFi and cellular radiations, and there is clearly a link between the rising incidents of autism and statistical wireless proliferation.

Studies have been conducted to check genotoxicity in human beings as genes can be affected when exposed to EMF radiations. DNA integrity can also be affected by exposure to radio frequencies and electromagnetic radiations. He said foetal and neonatal exposure to radio frequencies can affect the unborn baby; the child may not be able to live up to his or her full genetic age. He said even male fertility is affected. When put in the pocket, the testes is exposed and sperms get deformed by this continuous exposure.

Clinical profile of EMF
The clinical profile of EMF radiations is very non-specific and sometimes may get misdiagnosed and treated for disorders like insomnia, depression, pain, muscle aches, neurological disorders and incidents of allergy.

“At the Deira City Centre (DCC) Clinic, we have evolved a protocol where we can assess a patients’ EMF exposure and can measure how much positive charge or voltage he has accumulated in his body,” said Dr Nehru.

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