Good Morning every body. Respected Chair Person, Hon’ble Justice Mr. Thottathil B Radhakrishnan, Moderator, Shri. Ali Agsar Pasha, Dr. Praveen Lal, Other dignitaries and speakers and participants. Let me first of all thank the organizers of this one day workshop on Cyber crimes in Campus, KELSA and KSITM for giving me this opurtunity to address this august gathering.
Advances in mobile phone technology have resulted in maximum usage of mobile phones worldwide. Even in developing countries the mobile phones has gone from being an expensive item used by elite to a personal communication tool for the general population. However, the impact of regular use of mobile phone has raised concern about the potential health hazards. In this sesseion, I shall attempt to explore the major harms of cell phone usage and accordingly suggestions for the safe usage to minimize their impact on human health.
Cell phones or mobile phones were launched only in early nintes. But it has already revolutionized coomunication. It is a low cost utility item which has come in to the custody of the common man. Even the fisher men are using efectively to communicate with their graound staff in the land. It has become an indispensible service in emergencies and it is truly mobile in nature
It is estimated that 3 billion people are using mobile phones world wide. In other word 300 crore people are using it every day
The percentage of population using mobile phone in the world is different from country to country. It is as high as 100% in Australia, 60-70% in USA and 10-15% in countries like India
India is the 2nd largest market in the world for mobile phones. There fore All mobile companies are here selling phones like hot cakes. In India, mobiles overtook fixed phones in 2005. Not only, it has become became a tool of common man, it is more of a fashion accessory now.
Mathrubhoomi daily reported on August 5 th of this month that 2 lakh hand sets are sold every month in Kerala, when one crore are sold in the whole of India, almost at double the national rate
Hindu, India’s national daily reported possible health hazards from mobile phone radiation, saying that electromagnetic radiation, from base station antennas of mobile networks and mobile phones pose serious health hazards to people, particularly children below 16 years, pregnant woman and those using medical aids.
The World Health Organization is also concerned about the electromagnetic radiation
Mobile phones are equated to microwave ovens with regards to the radiation power; which is in the frequency ranges of 900 MHz to 1.8Ghz for the mobile phones, where as it is 2.5 Ghz for the micro wave ovens. The power out put ranges from 0.6 to 3.0 watts in case of mobiles and 500 to 1.1 k Watts n case of Microwave ovens
Almost everyone uses cell phones. All over the world, tens of millions of people are pressing them against their heads for hours every day. The important question is whether it is really dangerous. In the next 20 minutes or so let us consider this in some detail
Exposure to their electromagnetic radiation of Mobile phones is invisible. Mobile phones generate heat on the face of the user. This is termed the Thermal effects of cell phones
Head temperature of the user rises by 1 0 C after 15 minutes after mobile phone use and it rises by 2 0 C by 30 minutes of continuous use
If you talk for one hour in a mobile phone and place a small egg near the phone the egg will be boiled. That was the discovery of an award winning teacher in Ettumannoor presented in the South India Science Fair held at Kannoore
Perhaps more important is the calculation of, what is termed as the Specific Absorption Rate, which is different for each mobile phone that we use. Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) is a measure of the rate at which energy is absorbed by the body when exposed to a radio frequency (RF) electromagnetic field.
Let me take you back more than one century ago, when Roentgen invented X-Rays. He The first X Ray taken was that of his wife’s hand.
Radiologists began to suffer from radio dermatitis since 1896 itself. At that time there was total denial of the existence of X-ray side effects.
On August 6, 1945, @ 8:15 A.M. local time, an Atom Bomb was dropped in Hiroshima, Japan. Thousands of children including girls, suffered from extensive burns of the body.
Now just note, a news that appeared recetly in a South Indian English Newspaper. Pandyselvam in Pollachi, suffered from partial burns on the pinna due to the excess heat generated by the mobile. His ear literally caught fire.
Another incident of a mobile trouble was reported again from the South Indian city of Salem, when Ilayaraja, a law student picked the handset up to attend a call, it exploded, injuring his left hand.
Exposure of humans to radiation can be either from Non-ionizing radiation sources like power lines, electric trains, radars or even home computers or mobile phones. Whereas ionizing radiation exposure is used in diagnostic radiology, radiography, fluroscopy, in Nuclear Medicine for radiotherapy and interventnonal radiology.
Included in the Electromagnetic Spectrum, are radios, mobile phones, microwave ovens, radars, remote controls, visible waves, ultra-violet rays, , X-Rays and Gamma rays
Within the ranges of the electromagnetic waves called the electromagnetic spectrum, the cell phones fall between TVs and microwave ovens. At that level many scientists believe that cell phones, couldn’t conceivably impair human health.
When a mobile network is functioning, while a person is making a call, his mobile phone transmits the waves to the nearby mobile switching center and then to a distant base station and then receiver. Thus there are at least three sources of radiation, when a call is through.
How is the radiation produced by the cell phone transmitted? A part of the energy is incident on the head; some energy is lost in directions other than the base station and part of the energy is received by the base station.
What is the power out put of the various kinds of mobile phones? CDMA mobiles like those of Reliance and Tata Indicom have 1 Watts output; The GSMA mobile like BSNL, Idea and Airtel have 2 Watts and the US Analogue mobiles have a power output of approximately 3.6 watts
Power output of the base stations are naturally more powerful and continuous in nature and they are received at close quarters for a longer period of time. People are not supposed to reside within 100 meters from the base stations in urban areas and within 300 meters in rural areas
The International Commission for Non-ionizing Radiation Protection is the authority for monitoring Ionizing radiation of mobile phones and Base Stations. This body has spelled out definite guidelines for the radiation levels allowed and the base station lists are classified accordingly.
The ICNRP reference levels of electric and magnetic fields are different for the occupational exposure and to the general population. The exposure to electromagnetic radiation at each frequency levels is given in this chart
World Health Organization says “ Serious health effects like cancer are unlikely from mobile phones and their base stations ”. This is based on the consensus view of several medical and scientific communities, which studied this issues in detail. But…
Persons who use mobile phones frequently and particularly people living very near base stations, have been complaining of fatigue, headache, loss of sleep, memory loss, ringing in the ears and multiple joint pains. Whether these can be directly linked to the electromagnetic radiations need furthur studies to prove or disprove.
One of the reasons for these symptoms may be that constant exposure to electromagnetic radiations may open up the Blood Brain Barrier which normally protects the brain, by preventing unwanted substances in the blood stream from entering the brain.
The Blood Brain Barrier is situated in the capillaries of the blood vessels, and is composed of only one layer of very thin endothelial cells, which allow the oxygen, nutrients and water, pass through to the brain. Microwaves trigger changes to the proteins in the endothelial cells, allowing toxins to enter the brain.
Children are more prone to the ill effects of radiation. If an old adult starts using mobile phone now, he may not live enough to manifest the ill effects and consequences of electromagnetic radiations of cell phones. But a child who start using them at an early age may present with diseases from 10-20 years later about which we are not aware now.
If a pregnant woman is exposed to electromagnetic radiation for long duration, there is every possibility that the fetus may be affected in some way or the other. Thought enough studies on this basis is not available for obvious reasons, the threat is definitely there.
The big question is whether prolonged use of mobile phones can lead on to brain tumor because of the close proximity of the brain substance to the instrument. Several studies in various parts of the world indicate that possiblity. Even thought the direct evidence is still lacking.
This chart show the relative risk of brain cancer due to the prologned use of mobile phones in different populations, studied at 4 different centers. Each of the four studies show an increase in the relative risk of temporal lobe tumors following use of mobile phones over a period of four years
The theory behind the brain tumors proposed to be caused by the cellular phones is that the radiation causes damage to the DNA in the cells of the brain, which in turn give rise to other cells with already damaged DNA molecule and this is perpetuated in an accelerated manner to produce a tumor.
Another study conducted looked into the risk of Acoustic Neuroma, which is a tumor arising from the auditory nerve, situated in side the ear. Results showed an increase in incidence of more than 250% of the tumors, following a cell phone use of more than 15 years. But this is a single study involving a smaller group of patients.
An Israeli study showed that heavy mobile phone use can cause salivary gland tumors
EMR radiation from wireless cell phones can interact with some electronic devices like the printer , camera and the television
Mobile phones are banned in majority of air planes, for the obvious reason that passengers using the cell phones may interfere with the plane’s navigation systems, with a possibility of causing plane crash.
Use of mobile phones near intensive coronary care units and operation theaters have been found to interfere with the electronic equipment in these critical areas, including life saving instrument like defibrillators and ventilators and effort is on, to ban the use in and around these sites.
Pacemakers are used to regularize or correct any abnormality of the heart’s rhythm. Cell phones may interfere with pacemakers putting the life of the heart patient under threat.
Driving , while using a mobile phone is dangerous because the driver not only looses the concentration but also is incapacitated while attempts to handle the instrument’s small control buttons. Cell Phones Thus Cause Traffic Accidents.
Cell Phones Cause Traffic Accidents. Studies have proved that the risk of accidents is increased by 4 times if the driver talk on a mobile.
The interesting part is that 9 out of 10 people who believe it is dangerous to use a cell phone while driving DO IT ANY WAY.
Another disturbing fact is that, in a vast country like India, only 4 states have banned usage of cell phones while driving. That also means that in all other states people are driving vehicles of all classes and using mobiles with out fear of law punishing them. Even if it is implemented, it is gong to be ineffective due to lack of visible enforcement.
Even cycling may be dangerous if you speak on the mobile, while doing so. There is a risk of falling in to a drainage pit. Here none other than the Mayor of London Mr Boris Johnson can be seen doing the same.
It was reported in Mathrubhumi daily recently that a young man while sitting on the edge of a well, fell into the well and died. He was too speaking on a mobile, for the last time of course.
Crossing the street while talking on the mobile phone can be even more dangerous and be a real threat to your life
Not to mention the numerous traps you may fall into while using mobile phones indisriminately
Several cases of mobile phone abise are coming out, including blackmailing, fradulent transactions etc.
Mobile terrorism is another threat to the human society at large.
Now let us see the recommendations for safe use of mobiles.
Step1 - Minimize the duration of use, since certain effects of electrmagnetic radiation (e.g. thermal effects on brain) are accumulative. One should not talk for more than three minutes at a strech and should take at least 15 minutes break in between calls.
Step2. Use hands-free to decrease the radiation to the head. Accidents caused by inattension are still there in this situation.
Step 3. Keep the cell phone away from the body. Use a speaker phone or the head set.
Step 4. Limit the use of cell phone by children.
Step 5. Avoid living near the base stations
Step 6. Avoid phone usage while crossing the street.
Step 7. Never use a cell phone when a conventional phone is available.
Step 8. Mobile phones should be prohibited near Intensive Care Units and Operation theaters.
Step 9. The practice of installing antennas needs to be regulated.
The specific absorption rate value for each hand set should be provided by the manufacturers on the website as well as in the user’s manual, as per the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection guidelines.
Computers by themselves cannot kill human beings. But most of the injuries are avoidable and produced by what are termed as Cumulative Trauma Disorders
Eye Strain - Also referred to as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) occurs in up to 9 out of 10 people using computing continuously.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms like headaches, double vision, burning eyes, eye fatigue, eye irritation, excessive tearing, dry eyes or frequent blinking, following prolonged use of computer, then most probably you are suffering from eye strain symptoms other wise called “ Computer Vision Syndrome”
Eye Strain – How to avoid: Position your monitor at right angles to the window.
Eye Strain – How to avoid - Install an anti-glare screen.
Be sure the screen doesn't flicker or wave - this could indicate that service or adjustment is needed. Look away from the screen periodically.
Adjust the brightness controls on the screen until they are comfortable to your eyes.
Eye Strain - Don't forget to blink - your eyes need the moisture.
Hand Problems are most often seen in persons doing key borad typing with the computers. These are again due to repetitive strain inuries.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when the median nerve running from the arm to the hand gets squeezed near the wrist. The median nerve deals with the palm side of the thumb, most of the fingers and some muscles in the hand.
Microsoft has introduced this keyboard to minimize the trauma produced by the incorect positioning of the hands while typing in the key board.
To reduce the repetitive injury to the wrist while handling the mouse, one may use a cushined mouse pad with a wrist rest.
Wrong Keyboard Position with the hands at angles the nerves at the wristare trapped. If the elbows are away from body, it causes a static load roducing aching shoulders and neck.
Correct Keyboard Position: Keep your wrist and hands in line with the forearm and keep your elbow at right angles to the upperarm.
To prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, also hold the mouse loosely and click lightly
Neck and Back Strain
To reduce the neck strain, the eyes shall be in line with top of the monitor.
An &quot;in-line&quot; computer writing platform insures good posture when working with papers at a computer.
Check your posture - sit up straight
Preferably chairs should be on wheels, have backrest tilt adjustment, and have arms.
Computer ergonomics includs all these body positions in order to reduce the strain of using computers for along period of time.
Be sure you have enough desktop space for work papers and other equipment.
intersperse other tasks with your computer work.
Healthy Habits - Take frequent short breaks; Move around.
Computer related anxiety disorders include those mishaps that may occur as a result of computer viruses, adware, accidently deleted files, system being hijacked, E mail spam, and the computer running slow
Now comes the danger of internet.
Pornographic sites are galore
Computer should be always placed in the living room, at direct observation of the parents. Computer in the study room, gives oppurtunity to indulge in unwanted surfing.
There were several instances when the laptps got fire, even destroying the house.
Cooling pads are available for the laptops.
Or Keep A Fire Extinguisher Ready
Conclusions; Mobiles and computers have become part of our lives They add immensely to our lifestyle and productivity There are hidden dangers in their use Be aware of these health hazards Take early remedial measures Before it is too late Lest you suffer
Health hazards of mobile phone and computer use
Health Hazards in Mobile and Computer Use Prof. Dr. S. Aswini Kumar. MD Professor of Medicine Govt. Medical College Hospital Thiruvananthapuram Email: firstname.lastname@example.org