Don’t panic over phone radiationA recent study by the World Health Organization listed cell phones to be just as hazardous and carcinogenic as lead and microwave oven radiation, raising a hoopla across the world.
Many have been worried about cell phone safety for a long time, but it is the first time an established international organization has cited scientific evidence to connect cell phone usage to some kinds of brain cancer.
A working group of 31 scientists from 14 countries meeting at the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that all the available scientific evidence pointed to radiation exposure from cell phone use as “possibly carcinogenic.”
Their study showed that the use of mobile phones for more than 30 minutes per day for 10 years or more raised the rate of brain glioma, a type of tumor, by 40 percent.
The WHO placed cell phones in the group 2B - third on a five-level scale. It’s in the same group as lead, chloroform, coffee and engine exhaust.
The health warning made many mobile phone users think twice about making a phone call. Parents worry about their children’s cell phone usage. Male adults fret over speculation that phones kept in their trouser pockets can affect their reproductive ability. Some brush aside the report as political and overblown: the 270-item list includes in it carpentry and pickles.
Most people cannot get by without a mobile phone these days, and the younger they are, the more addicted they are to their phones. The government and mobile phone industry should not remain in the backseat. They must respond to the WHO announcement to address public fear and anxiety.
Radiation leakage from the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi reactor complex following the March 11 earthquake in Japan created a panic.
But Koreans remained calm after authorities and experts assured us that the amount of radiation coming over from Japan was so miniscule that a year-long exposure to that level would be equivalent to a fraction of an X-ray.
With one of the world’s highest penetration rates of mobile phones, the government should not shrug off the WHO findings. The same goes for Samsung, LG and other mobile phone manufacturers.
They must provide clear explanations of the radiation levels, risks of exposure to humans, and precautions against harmful use, as well as efforts to ease health hazards.