Your Views: Today’s cellphones are like microwave ovens for heads

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Development of the cavity magnetron tube (the electromagnetic equivalent of blowing air across a bottle top to produce an audible tone) allowed production of high-resolution shortwave radar equipment compact enough to install in fighter aircraft. Early “Radarange” brand microwave ovens appearing after World War II were aptly named, using the magnetron tubes (they still do) to generate 1,000 watts or so of microwaves for cooking.

Today we have miniature microwave ovens for cooking as well as for human heads (cellphones). Faulty or worn door seals might cause microwave ovens to leak. Using microwave detectors regularly to check for leakage is an excellent idea because microwave oven radiation risks eyes, brains and other tissues and certain heart pacemakers.

Unlike microwave ovens, cellphones are guaranteed to “leak” microwaves outside the devices (the waves must radiate outward for cellphones to operate). Just what constitutes a safe human exposure level and duration for cellphone (or wireless headsets, such as Bluetooth) remains to be established for uniform satisfaction.

Controversy surrounds the work of epidemiological scientist Devra Davis. The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association is critical of her book, “Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family.” Davis suggests use of texting and wireless headsets with the cellphone removed from the body, rather than direct use of the cellphone.

It does seem significant that newer cellphone manuals advise keeping the cellphone about an inch removed from the user’s body or head.



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