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The Harmful Effects of Cell Phones

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Research Paper: The Harmful Effects of Cell Phones
There are many reasons why people are concerned that cell phones might have the potential to cause harm physically and emotionally. Physical problems include certain types of cancer or other major health problems. However, one of three main factors that has researchers worried is that cell phones emit radio frequency energy (radio waves), a form of non-ionizing radiation. Another main concern about cell phone usage is the rapid increase of the device over a small period of time. Also as technology and cell phones increase, the quality of relationships have decreased because of the emotional attachment felt toward it. The biggest issue in using cellular devices is the radiation that the devices give off and the uncertainty if it is harmful or not. When looking at radiation, there are two types. One is Ionizing radiation (IR) – which is capable of causing changes in atoms or molecules in the body that can result in tissue damage such as cancer. Examples of ionizing radiation include x-rays, microwaves and gamma rays. The second one is non-ionizing radiation (NIR) – which doesn’t cause these changes, but can prompt molecules to vibrate. This can lead to rises in temperature, as well as other effects. Examples of non-ionizing radiation include ultraviolet radiation in sunlight, visible light, light bulbs, infrared radiation, microwave energy and radiofrequency energy. For example, RF radiation from a mobile phone has the biological effect of raising the temperature in an area of the brain by a fraction of a degree. Research shows that when a person speaks on a cell phone for fifty minutes, the cells on the side of the brain start to heat up. This biological effect does not carry any health risks. The human body is equipped to deal with very wide variations in temperature without experiencing harm. This does not necessarily make it harmless.
In a study, shown by Dr. Hugh Taylor, during 19 days of pregnancy, Taylor's team exposed mice to radiation from a turned on—but muted and silenced—cellphone placed above the cage. In another group, mice were kept under the same conditions but with a deactivated phone. The researcher measured electrical activity in the brains of adult mice that were exposed to radiation as fetuses. In addition, they conducted psychological and behavioral tests. They noticed that the mice had what seemed to be similar to humans Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). They found that the mice exposed to radiation tended to be more hyperactive and had increased anxiety and reduced memory. This goes to show how risky radiation might be for pregnant women. Doctors suggest using headsets and not having the cellular device directly touch the body or skin. However, test done on animals are not always the same on humans. In fact, most of the time tests may fail on humans. So the research continues. To further explore the relationship between cancer rates and cell phone use, Dr. Yaniv Hamzany of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Department at the Rabin Medical Center, looked for clues in the saliva of cell phone users. He looks at the saliva because cell phones are always closest to the head area. Comparing heavy mobile phone users to non-users, they found that the saliva of heavy users showed indications of higher oxidative stress. This is a situation that damages all aspects of a human cell, including DNA. This is done through the development of toxic peroxide and free radicals. More importantly, it is considered a major risk factor for cancer. With this study we have yet another risky factor that needs to be taken into consideration.
An additional key factor that causes people to be worried about cellular devices is that the number of cell phone users has increased rapidly. As of 2010, there were more than 303 million subscribers to cell phone service in the United States, according to the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association. This is a nearly threefold increase from the 110 million users in 2000. Globally, the number of cell phone subscriptions is estimated by the International Telecommunications Union to be 5 billion. This has scientists worried because cellphones are such an unclear topic. Should such mystery be this widespread, when we don't even know if it has physical harms? Research has been continuing but so has the rapid increase. Another problem with excessive cell phone usage is nomophobia, the fear of being phone-less. This is a problem nowadays because more and more people are being diagnosed with this condition. About seventy-three percent of cell phone users feel worried without their cell phone. In addition, fourteen percent say they would feel desperate. Even when they are not using their cellphones, it is always in a hand's reach. People with this condition will not be able to leave their house without their device. If the cellphone is lost, the person with this disorder will search hours even if this means not going to school or work. People who use their phones for more than 3 hours a day are more likely to have this phobia. Cell phones have been such an emotional attachment for some people that it is becoming more and more of an issue. Not very long ago, a fourteen-year-old teenager committed suicide because of her cell phone. When talking on her phone in class her teacher asked her to put it away. After achool the teenager killed herself. With all of the young death going around having children kill themselves because of cell phones is the last thing that we need. This story goes to show that too much emotional attachment is being made to an electronic. People need to realize that their life is not attached to a cell phone. The more cell phone rates increase the more mental health issues are going to come up.
A third and final factor that keeps researchers worried about cell phones is the fact that people have deteriorated relationships because of this modern technology. When people are so caught up their cell phones, they tend to miss out on a lot of their surroundings. Even when a group of friends get together, everyone will either be on their phone, checking it repeatedly, or keeping it within an arm's reach. People are so caught up in their cell phones and cyber world that they tend to retract themselves socially as well. Researchers from the University of Essex found that people who engaged in personal discussions when a cell phone was nearby, even if neither was actually using it, reported lower relationship quality and less trust for their partner. They also felt their partner was less empathetic to their concerns. When you think about it relating to this is not very hard. We all have times when our friends and family members are on their cell phones while we are explaining something. When the person across from you is not looking at your face, you feel they are less interested. This can later cause problems when you have to repeat yourself. You may even have to explain everything all over again because it is medically prove than the human brain is not able to multi task. Meaning, you can’t play on your phone while listening to someone at the same time. Texting is also a big issue. With this frantic new trend people are texting so much that they seem to forget how to speak with others. Abbreviating becomes a big habit that can be hard to break in the long run. Also, just to be able to text, a lot of people tend to risk their own lives and the lives of people around them while driving. While texting the chances of having an accident is greater by twenty three times. When I am out driving, I look around to see everyone driving is texting. No one wants to be alone with their thoughts, so texting or being on their phone is an easy escape. Also if a person is speaking on the phone, chances of having an accident is four times greater than not talking on a cell phone. Values and priorities are being pushed away because of handheld device. When thinking about it, there are actually many reasons to why cell phones can be harmful. Some of these reasons are physical while others are emotional. From radiation to the ongoing widespread of cell phone usage, it is unclear to many people if cellphones are harmful or not. The main thing though is the unidentified risks. Should people be comfortable because the problem is not found? Or should they be more pre-cautious because of the mystery? Even if the physical problems are unclear, I believe that emotionally it is causing a lot of big problems. Let's just hope that these problems are clarified and resolved soon.…...

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