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workaholic's avatar

Do you consider radiation levels when buying a cell phone?

Asked by workaholic (194points) October 5th, 2010

I just bought a Blackberry today. I was pretty excited considering it has what I need, etc. Then I found out it has one of the highest radiation levels of all smartphones (up to 1.55 w/kg). Meanwhile, the iPhone has about half that.

As a health conscious person, this worries me. I might return my BB this week…

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12 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

No.. but only because I didn’t know about it. Now I’m worried.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

No. I figure, either they all have high enough levels that we’ll all die young, or I should just chill out. Everything causes cancer. I’ve done the thing where you worry so much about continuing to live that you don’t actually live, and it sucked. A lot.
Side note: I don’t actually know the answer, but what’s the radiation levels of say, 5 years of using a BB (like you’re going to use one phone longer than that…) compared to getting one, single X-ray? Because if the BB is less, I’m definitely going to not worry.

iphigeneia's avatar

I don’t worry about it because I make calls very rarely, and when I do, I’m usually able to put my phone on speaker. But before speakerphone became a feature on nearly all phones, it was definitely one of my (or my parents’) top concerns.

downtide's avatar

No, because I didn’t know there was anywhere to find out that information. But then I tend to buy small, limited-functionality phones anyway so I suspect the radiation would be less than for one of these fancy new ones. Anyway I use it for texting mainly. I don’t often have it next to my head.

If you’re worried why not use it with a bluetooth headset? That way you’re not holding the phone near your head.

workaholic's avatar

@papayalily I got my info from I’m not actually sure how much radiation our body absorbs from medical X-rays, but that is a great question. If someone has the answer to this, please share it. Also, about the worrying too much thing, I get where you’re coming from but in this case I’m genuinely concerned about this particular issue. IMO, healthy life is a good life.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@workaholic I get that. Each person has their own things that they feel will make them healthier and live longer. But almost no one does all the things that will make them healthier.

lillycoyote's avatar

No, never. What I basically do is I lease my soul to Verizon Wireless every two years and what I get in return for that is a pretty decent phone, every two years, for free. That’s about it, that’s about all I ever consider.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
skfinkel's avatar

Yes, I check out the radiation levels, and try and get a low one. At home I use a land line. All of this is not to say that it makes any difference, since I know there are tons of other things in the world that are bad for us. However, when the research says that there is nothing we know now that is bad for you with these phones, I am concerned. Making choices that seem better than others give me a feeling of control over my life, true or not.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I don’t even think about it. Here’s some info about xrays:

A unit called a “rem” is used to measure radiation. A rem is a large unit, much like a mile is a large unit of length, so we usually use a millirem (mrem) instead, much as you would measure in inches instead of miles for most purposes. (It takes 1000 mrem to equal one rem.) A typical dental x-ray image exposes you to only about 2 or 3 mrem. The National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP) says that the average resident of the U.S. receives about 360 mrem every year from background sources. This comes from outer space, radioactive materials in the earth, and small amounts of radioactive material in most foods we consume.Some typical sources that may expose you to radiation also include smoke detectors (less than 1 mrem per year), living in a brick house instead of a wood one (about 10 mrem per year due to radioactive materials in the masonry), cooking with natural gas (about 10 mrem per year from radon gas in the natural gas supply), reading a book for 3 hours per day (about 1 mrem per year due to small amounts of radioactive materials in the wood used to make the paper), and even from flying in an airplane (about 5 mrem for one cross-country flight because of the increased altitude.) In fact, you receive about 2 mrem per year from sleeping next to someone! This is because all of us have very small amounts of naturally occurring radioactive materials in our bodies. (source).

At low doses, such as what we receive every day from background radiation, the cells repair the damage rapidly. At higher doses (up to 100 rem), the cells might not be able to repair the damage, and the cells may either be changed permanently or die. Most cells that die are of little consequence, the body can just replace them. Cells changed permanently may go on to produce abnormal cells when they divide. In the right circumstance, these cells may become cancerous. This is the origin of our increased risk in cancer, as a result of radiation exposure. (source)

The site you linked mentions watts per kg of body weight absorbed. I couldn’t find anything to convert the measurements of radiation from the cell phones to rems to get a good comparison.

MrsDufresne's avatar

Yes, I do. Being a cancer survivor that had radiation treatments, that is one of the first things I consider. My friends think I’m bonkers, but it is a valid concern of mine. Good to know that about the blackberry. I was actually considering purchasing one, until now.

(btw, If you don’t mind me asking, how do you find out how much radiation a cell phone gives off? )

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