Indrani Sen: Mobile phones may be injurious to our health!

04 Jun,2018

By Indrani Sen


As per the IAMAI Report released in last March, by end of June 2018 there will be 478 million internet users in India riding on mobile penetration. The recent launch of the new Patanjali sim cards and the apps Kimbho by Baba Ramdev will surely add an impetus to this growth. At the same time it will promote BSNL connections along with cheaper smart phones. This possible growth of cheaper handsets brings up a serious question of possible health hazards.

Mobile phone users are aware that they are not supposed to use their mobile phones in petrol stations, but very few know about the reason. Mobile phones emit radiofrequency energy, a form of non-ionising electromagnetic radiation, which is capable of igniting the petrol fumes present in the pumps. This radiofrequency energy can be absorbed by human tissues close to the phone. The amount of radiofrequency energy a mobile phone user is exposed depend on many factors as the technology of the phone, the distance between the phone and the user, the extent and type of mobile phone use and the user’s distance from cell phone towers. The cheaper handsets have higher risk of health hazards.

The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) after some research classified mobile phone radiation possibly carcinogenic in 2011. In simple words, it means that there “could be some risk” of carcinogenicity related tobrain cancer. According to some additional research, mobile phones are greatly contaminated with different types of microorganisms especially bacteria which cause a lot of diseases.

IARC advised additional research into the long-term, heavy use of mobile phones to arrive at conclusive results. But, by the time the WHO has conclusive proofs, we may be raising generations of children who have already been partially affected. Medical research has shown that children absorb more than 60 percent of the radiation into the brain than adults. Their brain’s thinner skin, tissues, and bones allow them to absorb the radiation twice than the grown-ups. The developing nervous system makes thechildren more vulnerable to this ‘carcinogen’.

The radiofrequency energy emitted by mobile phones also affects our environment including birds, mammals and pet animals. It has been observed that the animals which are more exposed to radiations emerging from these mobile phones or towers have many abnormalities as compared to those who are not exposed to these types of radiations.

There are various other negative effects of mobile phones. Mobile users are aware about the risk of accidents on the roads if using the device while walking or driving, but still many are seen breaking the traffic rules and regulations in the big cities and more so in smaller towns and villages. Teenager’ boys and girls communicate each other through their mobile phones and engage with social media which often has negative impact them. Students do not give proper time to their studies and waste their time in playing games, listening music, watching videos and reading messages on their mobile phones.People are wasting lot of their time and money in sending unnecessary sms/ text messages to one another through their mobile phones. The biggest social problem is the isolation of members in nuclear families, each immersed in own mobile. Mobile phones are also being misused for criminal activities and terrorism. However, the technology is also helping the police to detect the criminals.

Technology has led the development of mass media right from the dayJohanesGutengergintroduced the first movable type printing system in Europe around 1450. At the advent of each new medium there were debates on its usefulness and its effect on society, but no serious issue was ever raised related to health hazards associated with use of any new medium. In this digital age when we all are celebrating the mobile revolution, a silent storm has started gathering about the health hazards of using this hand held device. The I&B Ministry as well as the telecom regulatory body TRAI should review this issue and take some steps to create awareness among mobile users.


Indrani Sen is a veteran mediaperson and now an academic and a marketing strategy consultant. The views here are personal

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