Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wireless Technology: Cigarette of the 21st Century?

Cindy's been telling me for years that her cell phone hurts her ear if she uses it for more than a few minutes. Given her very sensitive system, I've listened with a half-curious, half-skeptical attitude. Pain, really? Sure, radiation can't be good for any of us, but actual discernible pain? Well, good thing I don't mind eating my words every now and then.

A few days ago I came across an article ranking cell phone radiation emissions. The article offered evidence that just 10 years of cell phone use may significantly increase one's risk of developing brain and salivary gland tumors, Alzheimer's disease, and even behavioral problems. Further -- and for me, perhaps scarier -- the article speculated that constant cell phone use in younger generations may lead to cognitive decline as early as age 40.

Radiation doesn't just go for cell phones either. Wireless internet, satellite television, and GPS system waves have infiltrated perpetually higher percentages our high-tech society. We're surrounded by a smog of signal waves that we can't see, hear, taste, or otherwise detect.

One article compared this century's rampant technology with last century's cigarette. Meaning what began as a cool cultural phenomenon was eventually outed as a sure way to depress your health and shorten your life.

Troubled, I couldn't help sliding my cell phone into my purse and away from my chair. While our crowded world is rife with toxins and other dangers, this one seems so easy to curtail. Use a hands-free headset for your cell phone. Limit your direct contact with wireless technology.

Further, choose a brand with lower radiation emissions. The Environmental Working Group ranked more than 1,000 cell phones by radiation emission. I was sad to discover my Blackberry Curve ranked close to the top, but pleased to know my contract is almost up and I can swap it for a safer model.

So, I offer my thanks to Cindy and other "canaries in the mine" out there for alerting the rest of us to silent dangers lurking in broad daylight.

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