Mobile telephony uses high-frequency electromagnetic fields to transmit information. Cell phones generate these fields directly on the head when phoning without a handsfree device. According to the current state of scientific knowledge, the maximum levels set internationally are sufficient to protect against proven health risks.
However, there are still uncertainties in the risk assessment, which could not be completely eliminated by the German Mobile Telecommunication Research Program. These concern in particular
– possible health risks of long-term exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields from cell phone calls by adults (intensive cell phone use over more than 10 years) – the question of whether the use of cell phones by children could have an impact on health.
Due to these scientific uncertainties, the BfS advises to keep personal exposure to electromagnetic fields low as a precautionary measure.
Tips for using a cell phone
The electromagnetic fields that occur when using cell phones close to the body are generally much stronger than the fields to which you are exposed, for example, from neighboring cell phone base stations. The recommendations of the BfS therefore refer to the use of cell phones. They aim to reduce the strength (intensity) of the high-frequency fields and shorten the duration of radiation exposure (exposure):
– Use the landline phone if you have a choice between a landline and a cell phone. – Keep cell phone calls as short as possible. – If possible, do not make phone calls when reception is poor, such as in a car without an external antenna. The poorer the connection to the nearest base station, the higher the power with which the cell phone transmits must be – and thus the strength (intensity) of the high-frequency field. The car body, for example, worsens the connection. The cell phone therefore transmits with a higher power. – Use cell phones that expose your head to the lowest possible fields. The lower the SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) value of your cell phone, the lower the field. The SAR values of the available cell phone models can be found in the SAR list. The manufacturers of cell phones usually state the SAR values determined under specified conditions in the instructions for use. Also on the Internet sites of the cell phone manufacturers often corresponding data are to be found. – Use head sets. The intensity of the fields decreases rapidly with the distance from the antenna. The use of head sets greatly increases the distance between the head and the antenna. The head is therefore exposed to lower fields when using the phone. – Write text messages. Do not hold the cell phone to your head.
With these recommendations, personal exposure to radiation can be easily and efficiently minimized without having to forego the advantages of a cell phone. Minimizing radiation exposure is especially important for children, as they are still developing and may be more sensitive to radiation. The BfS therefore recommends limiting cell phone calls to children as much as possible.
Electronic devices can be more sensitive to high-frequency radiation than the human body. One example is implanted pacemakers, which can be disturbed in their function under unfavorable circumstances. Interference of individual pacemakers by cell phones has been observed up to a maximum distance of 20 cm between the devices. Wearers of pacemakers should prevent this and not keep their cell phones operational directly on their upper body, for example, do not carry them in standby mode in their jacket pocket. At a usual distance of more than 20 cm between cell phone antenna. pacemakers, normal telephoning has no effect on the pacemaker.
Hearing aids can cause noise interference in the vicinity of cell phones. Here is the recommendation: keep your distance or, if you want to make a phone call yourself, turn off the hearing aid!
In the hospital
Problems can also occur when using cell phones in hospitals, in some cases sensitive medical devices are still disturbed at a distance of 1 to 2 meters. Ensure sufficient distance from sensitive medical electronics – especially in intensive care units and operating theaters. Mobile phone bans in hospitals must therefore be strictly observed.
On the plane
In the car
The ban on using a cell phone without a hands-free device while driving a vehicle is due to the distraction it causes. Since you are distracted by talking on the phone even when using a hands-free device, you should avoid using it at the wheel altogether if possible.