Since the advent of cellphones in the 1990s, communication has become a lot easier and portable. In fact it has become impossible to imagine a world without them. Business transactions have increased exponentially in decision-making now takes place in a much quicker pace. In Africa, cellular technology has become the primary means of communication as telephone companies no longer have to spend billions of dollars building up telecommunication infrastructure.
Radio frequencies and magnetic fields have been controversial topics since the 1960s and 70s, and with the introduction of cellular phones, the controversy has exacerbated. As in every debate, there are two schools of thought surrounding the impact of radio waves and the danger they pose. On the one side, there are those who believe that radio frequencies have little effect on consumers and the environment at large. On the other side, there are those who believe that we are in serious danger from radio waves and the telecommunication companies that dupe us into believing that we are safe.
Radio frequencies or radio waves, as they are more commonly known, are emitted by wireless and other electronic devices. They are not a new occurrence in the modern world. In fact, apart from natural occurrences, radio waves have been around since radio and television. Basically anything that has an antenna or a transmitter emits radio waves. The rate at which the body absorbs radio waves is measured as the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR).
Controversy surrounding cell phone radiation is focused on whether radio frequencies emitted from cellphones are safe for humans and the environment, or whether we are all put at risk by the continuing omission of these waves as well as electromagnetic fields. When radio frequencies are high enough, they can break down the tissue in the human body and can interfere with the DNA. However, it is claimed that emissions from cellphones are so small that they pose no danger. This has been the mantra of the FCC for many years. There has been much confusion and concern recently as the same organization now claims that further research is needed to determine the effects of radio frequencies, as well as whether they are dangerous to humans.
Complaints have surfaced in the United States and other countries like South Africa where base stations are located in urban areas and even built in gardens where agreement is reached between cellphone networks and home owners. People living in close proximity to base stations have complained of headaches and other health problems. Home owner associations and health researchers have claimed that living too close to base stations or heavy use of cellphones may instigate brain tumors and cancers.
With no official conclusions drawn on the dangers of cellphones, and with more people complaining about the effects, one has to ask the following questions; how dangerous is radio frequencies and what are the risks to human health and the environment? Can constant exposure to radio waves cause free radicals to occur and if so, is there any way to protect ourselves? Are we slowly killing ourselves with the pollution of modern technology? Makes you think, doesn’t it?