Monday, April 21, 2008

Why Headsets Aren't Safe!

There are two types of harmful radiation from a cell phone. The first is the near-field plume of radiation that is generated by the phone. This near-field plume of radiation extends out a distance of 6-8 inches in all directions from the antenna of the phone. When the handset is placed against the head to listen to a call the radiation is in close proximity to the head. Consequently, the radiation penetrates the head. In adults studies have shown this penetration into the head to be a depth of about 2 inches. In the case of a child, whose skull bones are thinner and softer, this radiation can penetrate almost all the way through the head from one side to the other. Look closely at the picture above. This was a study done at the University of Utah showing how deep radiation penetrates into the head of an adult, a 10-year old and a 5-year old. It's pretty frightening to think of radiation penetrating our head like this. Obviously, we need to get that radiation away from our heads. This can be accomplished by using a headset. However, headsets are not as protective as you might think. Most headsets have a set of wires running from the microphone to the earpieces. Studies have shown that these wires, which are usually unshielded, will actually act as an ANTENNA and will attract MORE radiation to the head than before! So these types of headsets are not safe. To fix this problem someone cleverly manufactured a headset with an "airtube" in it to replace a portion of the wire leading to the earpiece. In other words, the airtube headset operates much like a stethoscope. That does get the cell phone away from the head and reduces the radiation exposure from the near-field plume.
Unfortunately, that only solves one part of the problem. For you see, the near-field plume isn't the only way our bodies are damaged by a cell phone. The second way electromagnetic waves harm us is through something called the information-carrying radio wave. It is this second carrier wave that does the biological damage to our cell membranes. We've discussed this mechanism already earlier on this blog.
So don't get lulled into thinking an "airtube" headset fully protects you. It doesn't. It only gets the phone away from your head. But it does nothing to address the damage being caused by the information-carrying radio wave. These headsets are only addressing half the problem.


Anonymous said...

I think you make a good point about the fact that reducing radiation at the point of contact (ear/head) is only part of the equation, but I also think it's an important one. I use a ferrite bead on my wired headset that I bought from AND I try to keep the phone as far from my body as possible when using it. I even turn it to airplane mode if it's going to be in my pocket for very long.

Saaqi said...

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