6 January 2020 posted by Nadine Neate

We’ve all heard it before: ‘dont spend too long on the phone!’, ‘don’t sleep with your phone under your pillow!’. It’s the age old tale of the ‘silent killer’ but no one can seem to confirm the legitimacy on mobile phones causing brain cancer, tumours and other illnesses. Is there really a risk in mobile phone use? Or is it a simple wives tale? Is it too early to tell?

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The Facts:

Mobile Phones emit an Radio Frenquency (RF) radiation when held against your ear. This then heats a targeted area of your face and, to some extent, your brain. While this might sound alarming, this heating is infact less than the heating brought upon by exercising.

With this in mind, it’s important to note that high levels of RF radiation can overheat body tissues and cause damage, but according to Better Health Victoria, Australian Regulation keeps radiation levels from exceeding normal levels.

“The Australian exposure limits for RF radiation from mobile phones is set far below the level at which any meaningful heating occurs. All mobile phones in Australia must meet the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) Standard RPS 3, which is enforced by the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA).”

So Can This Cause Me Harm?

In terms of brain tumours and long term effects, the World Health Organisation (WHO) states:

“While an increased risk of brain tumors is not established, the increasing use of mobile phones and the lack of data for mobile phone use over time periods longer than 15 years warrant further research of mobile phone use and brain cancer risk.

How you can reduce exposure to EME

While it is too early to solidify a truthful outcome to the legitimacy of mobile phone radiation risks, there are some steps you can take to reduce mobile phone exposure (for all you worry warts out there; myself included):

  •  use ‘hands-free’ devices to keep mobile phones away from the head and body during phone calls
  •  limit the number and length of calls
  •  use the phone in areas of good reception, which reduces exposure as the phone will transmit at reduced power.

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Disclaimer – these articles are provided to supply general safety information to people responsible for OHS in their organisation. They are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs. Additional information can be found at www.workcover.nsw.au