From the headlines you might think the effect of mobile phone on human health is all about whether or not mobile phones can give us brain cancer. In fact, mobile phones, their use and the access they provide, have all sorts of other health effects.
Ranging from difficulty sleeping to difficulty conceiving a child, because mobile phones are a feature of every part of our life their effect on human health affects every part of our life too.
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What’s the effect of mobile phone on human health?
Mobile phones affect our health in all sorts of ways, from the social to the physical.
The big question: can mobile phones cause cancer? We’ve written about it on the blog several times but this is the question the media loves to talk about. There have been high-profile cases that received a lot of attention for possibly showing a link between mobile phones and certain types of cancer, such as brain cancer and, in one case, breast cancer.
The much more solidly proven link is between mobile phone radiation and male infertility. Male fertility rates – sperm counts – are plummeting across the world. One in five healthy 18-25 year-olds have abnormal sperm counts that put them at risk of infertility.
It’s caused by the electromagnetic field that mobile phones emit. It’s an essential part of how phones work but it can pass through the body causing damage to cells and DNA. Sperm are always growing and are very vulnerable – some experts compared EMF exposure to “cooking” sperm.
Mobile phones and young people’s health
Mobile phones start their effects on human health young – before children are even born. Studies show links between the mobile phone use of pregnant women and child development issues such as hyperactivity. There are well-established links to children using or watching screens, “screen time”, and many social and developmental difficulties including ADHD, anxiety, delayed language development and more.
As teenagers, now even pre-teenagers, with their own mobile phones, these become a conduit for bullying, social media anxiety, and a lack of sleep. Young people who sleep with their phones in their bedrooms are much more likely to suffer from sleep deprivation that affects their schoolwork.
Effect of mobile phone on human health: the stress, sleep and work edition
Mobile phones and wireless technologies have given us freedom, but there’s been a cost too. Research shows that some of us are working up to two hours extra each day using email from their phones. Even when on holiday.
Making us available to work longer hours – and after hours – creates stress and burnout.
The light from the screen of a mobile phone mimics natural blue-hued daylight and this can send mixed messages to our brain about when it is time to sleep. Using a phone within two hours of going to bed can make it harder to fall asleep and cause sleep deprivation and sleep disorders which have other knock-on health effects. A lack of proper sleep not only makes us grumpy but more accident prone and at risk of obesity, diabetes, stress, depression and cardiovascular disease.
Why don’t we hear more about these problems? Well, this is an industry that has been found to have bias in its research and even gone to court to prevent adequate warnings about its products and their health effects.
But there is action you can take to protect yourself and your family from the ill effects of mobile phones.
And what can we do about it?
Establishing some distance from your mobile phone is important. Don’t keep it with you when you sleep and use a blue light filter or switch it off at least one hour before bedtime. This is even more important for children and teenagers.
You might want to try no-phone times. This doesn’t have to be a full digital detox, it could just be the length of a meal with your family or watching a film.
Men need to be particularly careful about the physical placement of their phone. Keeping it in a pocket or on a belt puts it right next to vulnerable sperm – a big factor in male infertility. Move it to a bag or backpack instead, or use an anti radiation phone case like WaveWall Universal. The benefit here is that you can use your phone as normal, while the case shields you from mobile phone radiation.
You don’t have to give up your phone, or anything drastic. Just a few small adjustments can really help cut out a lot of the damage your phone is doing and fight the effect of mobile phone on human health.