Ninety-one percent of American adults and 60 percent of teens own cell phones and there’s no doubt these devices have revolutionized communication in the 21st century, but what are the cell phone health risks?
There’s often speculation about whether regular use of a cellular device adversely affects your health, but it’s hard to give a definitive answer, as many studies into cellular radiation have been met with criticism.
Here we will explore some of the cell phone health risks.
Negatively effects emotions
We’ve all been there – you’re trying to have a conversation with someone but they’re paying more attention to their cell phone than to you. This can force you to generate negative feelings towards this person.
In two studies conducted at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom, researchers studied the effects of a mobile device during a nose-to-nose conversation.
In the first study, 37 pairs of strangers were asked to spend 10 minutes talking to each other about an interesting event that happened in their lives within the past month.
Half of the participants were seated in a secluded area with a mobile device present on a desk nearby whereas the other half remained without a cellphone.
The results of the study showed that those who had a mobile device nearby were perceived less positive by the stranger, compared to the other participants without a cell phone present.
“These results demonstrate that the presence of mobile phones can interfere with human relationships, an effect that is most clear when individuals are discussing personally meaningful topics,” said the researchers of the study.
Increases stress levels
According to the Morningside Recovery Rehabilitation Center, the average American spends 144 minutes a day using his or her phone during a 16-hour period. This high amount of cell phone use can have negative effects on an individuals stress levels.
The constant need to feel connected and up-to-date, the ringing, the vibrating, these factors all contribute to cell phone induced anxiety.
In a study conducted at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, researchers examined if there is a direct link between the psychosocial aspects of cell phone use and mental health symptoms in young adults.
Researchers found high mobile phone use was associated with stress and sleep disturbances for women, whereas high mobile phone use was associated with sleep disturbances and symptoms of depression in men.
Increases risk of illness in your immune system
Another cell phone health risk is caused by the separation anxiety we have with our cell phones, which leads to the incessant need to have them nearby, and the constant touching causes a build-up of germs on the handset.
After one day of use, your cell phone can harbor more disease-prone germs than those found on a toilet seat.
A study by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London, found that 92 percent of cell phones they sampled out of a pool of 390 had bacteria on them and 16 percent of them had E.Coli present.
Increases risk of eye vision problems
Staring at your mobile device can cause problems in your vision later in life.
Screens on mobile devices tend to be smaller than computer screens, which means you are more likely to squint and strain your eyes while reading messages.
According to The Vision Council, more than 70 percent of Americans don’t know or are in denial that they are susceptible to digital eye strain.
Radiation leading to various cancers
Cell phones emit radio-frequency energy (radio waves), a form of non-ionizing radiation, from their antennas. Tissues nearest to the antenna can absorb this energy.
Three case-control studies conducted since 2010 have all been positive (an increase in gliomas were found) in the highest exposure groups.
Two studies found that the tumors occurred on the same side as phone use.
Although, these studies are subject to recall bias because people were asked about their cellphone usage and those with the tumor could have exaggerated their usage.
Maybe these health risks will make you think twice about your cell phone usage- perhaps try leaving your phone in the living room over night? This could be your first step towards a healthier lifestyle.