Technological advancements result in both benefits and harmful risks to human populations. One such advancement is the introduction of mobile phones in the society. Before the cell phone age (before 2000), telephones were common and were used in every business and social setting. Cell phones are mobile phones designed for mobility, have small sizes, and have advanced features such as camera and internet services (Schuz et al., 2006). Popularity of cell phones has surged since the turn of the new millennium. The reasons are listed by Schuz et al. (2006) as due to; advanced features such as cameras and internet, lower cost, and availability. Cell phones are classified popular because of their small sizes making them essential for one to be reached any time. However, despite the numerous benefits cell phones are dangerous.
Therefore, in this research the harmful risks of cell phones were investigated. The study involved 10 people who frequently use the gadget. Older generation of people who did not use this gadget previously were instrumental in bringing out the issues of the technology. The justification of the study is that, with cell phones becoming popular in the society, and people claiming that life cannot be simple without them, it is essential to highlight and educate users of the harmful aspect of the device.
1. Are cell phones more harmful than good?
2. Is the society reliant on the gadget?
3. Is it worth to have a cell phone
4. What more can be done to make cell phones better?
There are numerous researchers that have highlighted the negative impact of cell phones. One such negative impact is in the influence on health. According to Carlo & Schram (2001), cell phones expose humans to an electromagnetic energy called RF (Radio Frequency). The energy operates at a frequency between 450-2700 MHz (Carlo & Schram, 2001). These frequencies have been proven scientifically to have short-term and long-term benefits to humans. The short-term risks of radio frequency to the human body are increased temperature for both brain and other vital organs like pancreas, testes, and many more (Schuz et al., 2006). The increase temperatures have a negative impact of making the organs perform below optimum peak. However, the long term effects are the most dangerous and the greatest risk identified is the carcinogenic cause of radio waves. Cancers such as brain cancer and tumours in the nerve inside the ear are some of the identified health risks (Schuz et al., 2006).
Also, closely associated with cancer is the impact of cell phones on the genetic makeup of blood. The radio frequency emitted by the gadgets has been highlighted, by Carlo and Schram (2001), to alter the component of blood resulting to Leukaemia. Children below 10 years are also at risk from the radiation where, their developing brain is easily affected. Their skulls have lower thicknesses resulting to higher absorption rate (Wiart et al., 2008). Therefore, cell phones around children might result in them developing cancer later on in their lives.
There is also a direct relationship between cell phone usage among users and their reproductive health (Carlo & Schram, 2001). The reproductive health is affected in terms of sperm quality and chances of miscarriage. Placing of cell phones in pockets near the reproductive organs are the plausible routes of effect on reproductive organs by radio waves.
People having pacemakers in their hearts are also at risk when they use cell phones. Pacemakers have a pulse generator that functions at a set frequency. Therefore, when cell phones functioning at different frequencies are brought nearby, there is a potential of pacemakers function being altered (Carlo & Schram, 2001).
There is also the risk of increased accidents when using cell phones while driving. According to Schuz et al. (2006) using cell phones while driving was a distraction that resulted in a quarter of all accidents reported. This is true because errors of judgement are prone when focus is deviated. Also, supporting the accident point, is a research by Strayer et al. (2006), who found out that drivers using cell phones are similar to drunk drivers. The equivalent alcohol level found in the study was 0.08%. Furthermore, Lithium batteries that power cell phones can explode when near fires or when charged and are faulty. The explosions can burn and injure nearby people.
The carcinogenic impacts of cell phones have been discredited by many researchers over time. NCI (2009) argues that ionizing radiations like x-ray and ultraviolet cause cancer, but radio waves from cell phones are non-ionizing; hence cannot cause cancer. However, this can be countered by the fact that radio waves having higher frequencies—above 2500MHz range—could develop ionizing capabilities, which can cause cancer.
Similarly, there is an argument that, if radiation from cell phones caused cancer, then there would be a rise in cancer cases since they became popular. This has been proven by the National Cancer Institute, which recorded no change in numbers of cancer patients (NCI, 2009). The argument can be countered through stating that the National Cancer institute have no credible way of recording the number of cancer patients. Furthermore, in developing nations numbers of cancer patients have been on the rise and are not accounted.
The American heart foundation claims that cell phones do not alter the functioning of pacemakers. This is because the RF (Radio Frequency) emitted by American phones cannot significantly alter functions of pacemaker (Schuz et al., 2006). This can be rebutted by stating that frequencies all over the globe vary, and they can influence the functioning of pacemakers. Also, because of resonance, which is proven in physics, the pulse generator inside the pacemaker can function at the frequency of cell phones, which is obviously not the set pulse rate.
The survey on 10 people using cell phones proved that cell phones are indeed harmful. In the qualitative survey, open ended questions were used to bring out the true feelings of the respondents. 60% of the respondents had a perception that using cell phones, especially those not tested, could cause health risks such as infertility and cancer. Those who were sceptical on the health risks cited the unknown causes of cancer, and that even if cell phones caused cancer technology provided ways of countering the effects.
80% of the respondents also affirmed that the society could not function properly without cell phones. They cited dealing with emergencies and disbursing information quickly as crucial functions of cell phones. Furthermore, while the younger generation unanimously stated that it is worthy to have cell phones, the older generation voted against its worth. They listed other avenues of sending information such as letters, emails, and old fashioned telephones that functioned just fine in the past.
In seeking the recommendations, all the 10 respondents asserted that:
All cell phones to have anti-radiation gadgets, and not to be sold separately
Government to come out clearly on how to use cell phones to prevent possible risks
Proper research on effects of radio waves from phones
Funding and Research to come up with phones that have minimum health risks
Drivers to be educated on the need to switch off phones while driving, and if caught they are to be fined heavily.
Cell phones rely on radio waves for their function, which is risky to the health risks of people. Therefore, one should note that, despite the benefits of cell phones that include simplifying life and offering recreational services, cell phones can cause loss of life and injuries. So it is advisable that when using cell phones, one should limit the contact time with it through using loud speakers, and attach anti-radiation gadgets on the device. Also of importance is limiting its use when driving and keeping it in a phone pouch instead of pockets near reproductive organs or the heart.
Carlo, G. & Schram, M. (2001). Cell Phones, Invisible Hazards in the Wireless Age, An Insiders Alarming Discoveries about Cancer and Genetic Damage. New York: Carrol & Graff Publishers.
National Cancer Institute (2009). Cellular Telephone Use and Cancer Risk. Viewed on 8th August, 2012. Available on:
Schuz, J., Jacobsen, R., Olsen, J.H., Boice, J.D., McLaughlin, J. K., & Johansen, C. (2006). Cellular Telephone Use and Cancer Risk: Update of a Nationwide Danish Cohort. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 98 (23)
Strayer, D.L., Drews, F.A., & Crouch, J.D. (2006). A Comparison of the Cell Phone Driver and the Drunk Driver, Human Factors 48 (2). : 381-391.
Wiart, J. Hadjem, A. Wong M.F. & Bloch, I. (2008). Analysis of RF Exposure in the Head Tissues of Children and Adults. Physics in Medicine and Biology 53 (13). Doi:10.1088/0031-9155/53/13/019
My topic was persuading the audience that using cell phones is dangerous. The different claims associated with this topic are: cell phones have no negative impact on human life, cell phones are dangerous, cell phones are extremely useful in satisfying human life, and cell phones are not worthy. My position was that cell phones are dangerous.
The evidence that I have provided to prove my position are; the various literature and studies that prove cell phones are a leading cause of numerous cancer types. Also proved, are evidences of lowering reproductive health, and altering the function of artificial pacemakers in people’s hearts. There is also a direct relationship between numbers of accidents caused with cell phone usage. A survey on 10 people was also incorporated, in the study, to prove the claims.
My claim on dangers of cell phone can be claimed to use the scientific method since secondary sources through literature, and primary sources through respondents who ascertained my claim. However, conclusive results were not attained since some studies always proved the alternative result. Therefore, my intended audience are health researchers and governmental institutes who have to come up with large scale and comprehensive results proving dangers of cell phones.
My purpose is to highlight the negative side of cell phones. Hence, I want my audience to think critically about things that seem safe, and also to rely on technology for satisfaction of life. Therefore, the phrases I used to make them think critically are: “health risks”, “children”, and “increased accidents”.
My audience, however, need to know that cell phones are numerous in the society and that even though some might be branded safe, others are counterfeits making them even more dangerous. The other position that cell phones are not dangerous can be countered through inconclusive evidences by many researchers. Hence, I insist that radio waves present in cell phones have health risks and distractive tendencies when used cause increased accidents.