Men & "Electromagnetic Radiation"
Anastasios D. Kalantzis, Surgeon Urologist-Andrologist
Partly the contradicting scientific studies, partly our convenience, we have ended up using non ionizing radiation emitting devices irrationally. The freedom wireless technology provides is significant, while the fact that we get rid of the annoying wires makes it even more popular. However, have we ever considered the effects that all this radiation to which we are exposed daily has on our health?
- How many phone calls do we make on our mobile every day? According to the International Basic Safety Standards for Protection Against Ionizing Radiation and for the Safety of Radiation Sources, radiation levels should not exceed 5-6 mW/m2. When the phone rings and during telephone conversation, radiation was measured to 1,827 mW/m2. As we speak (without hands free) there is zero distance and the cell phone is adjacent to our heads. When the phone is charging, the measurement is within normal limits, nevertheless the specialists advise not charging the mobile phone next to our heads. In small, closed areas, such as elevators, cars, tunnels, radiation is increases, as the cell phone is trying to "get" a connection
- The necessary router which provides wireless internet connection, is placed, most of the times in our study or often in the living room next to the sofa, where we spend a big part of our day; or, even worse, in the bedroom. Consider the 15.20 mW/m2 emitted, are emitted continuously, as long as the router remains on, even when you are not in the internet.
- In most houses, the wireless phone is placed on the bed-side table, the coffee table or the study, i.e. in places where we spend many hours during the day and night. However, even when we do not talk on the phone, the base emits radiation continuously, and this is what is insidious in this case.
- Another one of the most popular household appliances is the microwave oven, which offers ease and spare time. However, this also is one more source of radiation. The measurement showed 11.53 milivat, twice the limit at a distance of 20 to 30 cm. In short, it would be advisable that you and especially young children stand far from the microwave oven when in operation. Increased, compared with the permissible limits, is the radiation also of the conventional oven when it works, so it is good to do the same in this case too.
- A lot of parents use, on a daily basis and especially at night, when the baby sleeps, an intercom baby phone. The measurement next to the antenna showed 3.20 mW, below the safety limits. However, children, and especially infants, are very sensitive even to low radiation levels.
The scientific research on the effects of non-ionizing radiation belongs among the most controversial ones. There are great financial interests, and he funding of researches on health repercussions are often provided by the appliances' manufacturers. On the other hand, hundreds of biologists, physicists, cytologists and engineers all over the world connect this type of radiation with headaches, fatigue, allergies, carcinogenesis, even DNA breakdown.
Professor Lucas H. Margaritis, director of the Cell Biology and Biophysics Department in the Biology Division of the University of Athens, reports that in people who daily receive non-ionizing radiation are observed headaches, insomnia, concentration disorders, fatigue, behavior changes, aggressiveness, immune system activation, allergies, DNA breakdown, oligospermia, memory and learning disorders, osteopoesis (for embryos), increased risk of brain tumor development. And he continues saying that the seriousness of the symptoms depends on each person's sensitivity and susceptibility, the kind of radiation, exposure duration and age.
Dr. Theodore Dolatzas, Pediatric Surgeon, Director of A' Pediatric Surgery Clinic of Children's Hospital "Agia Sophia", explains that we can protect the children from electromagnetic radiation of cell phones. Children are more susceptible in radiation absorbance because:
- They have thinner sculls, so absorbance is increased.
- They have increased amount of water in the tissues, which facilitates radiation transfer.
- The accumulative action of radiation is bigger..
- As regards children leukemia, for the time being there are few studies that implicate antennas of mobile phones, radios, electric wires, electromagnetic cells etc.
As it usually happens in these cases, there is great controversy and contradictory views. On the one side, many scientists, like the Physics lecturer of Surrey University Paddy Ryan, claim that the time that has lapsed since wireless technology first appeared until today is already enough in order for conclusions to be made and that, if wireless networks' radiation was indeed harmful, the symptoms would have already been obvious. The same position seems to share the head of the cell phones research unit of Kings College in London, James Rubin, who concluded a meta-analysis of 31 researches and claims that in none of them is electromagnetic radiation accused for appearance of any symptoms.
On the other side, there is this "current" which sustains that radiation from wireless technology should concern and worry us more.
Two top Swedish professors, Lennart Hardell, professor of Oncology in the University Hospital of Orebro, Sweden and Kjell Hansson Mild, professor in the National Swedish Institute «Working Life» and in the University Hospital of Orebro, Sweden, conducted researches that showed that the use of mobile and wireless telephones may cause damages in the human organism. In his interview in Vita magazine, Mr. Lennart Hardell was positive: "The use of mobile phones for a period longer than ten years increases the risk for the development of a tumor in the brain or the acoustic nerve".
According to a research of American scientists, the quality of sperm may suffer damages by the excessive and long-term use of the cell phone.
In specimens received from men in a fertility clinic in Ohio USA, it was obvious that their sperm was steadily losing its quality, motility and fertilization capability as the use of cell phone was increasing. Dr. Ashok Agarwal, who presented the findings of the research in a summit of the American Union of Fertility Medicine in New Orleans, pointed out that "significant aggravation was observed in all the basic characteristics of the sperm's health, and this has definite impact in the fertility reduction observed internationally", but without the existence of definite proof, but only circumstantial evidence that this is due to the use of cell phones
So, finally, what is the reality?
Despite the fact that the scientific community and the researchers conducted in the last years have not documented the fact that electromagnetic radiation is responsible for causing certain diseases, nevertheless there are precautions and measures that we ought to take and we should reduce, as much as possible, our exposure to it.
1. Theodore Dolatzas, Pediatric Surgeon – "Children and Mobile Phones Radiation", www.ygeiaonline.gr
2. Angie Saltabasi, Costas Delliyiannis – "How much radiation we receive from our appliances and devices and how we can protect ourselves", 11/2009, www.erevno.terapad.com
3. Zimalis Evaggelos, Occupational Physician – "Radiation / Visual Display Units (VDU)", www.iatronet.gr
4. Thymios Kotronias - "Mobile – Wireless Phones - Laptop. How dangerous is their radiation?", 02/2008, www.vita.gr
5. "Men: Mobile Phone seriously harms the sperm ", London 25/10/2006, www.enet.gr
6. Th. Pallantzas,, Surgeon Urologist-Andrologist – "The impact of mobile phones radiation on men", 26/05/2011, www.zougla.gr