Episode 6: Why carrying a smartphone in your pocket is not a good idea


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Every day millions of people carry a smartphone in their pocket. It’s a habit that became a routine. But that routine harms your health. In this episode we explain why this is so.

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Nowadays governments oblige manufacturers to assign a SAR value to every mobile phone. SAR stands for Specific Absorption Rate. It indicates how much radiation a specific device generates, radiation our body absorbs while using a mobile phone. The higher the SAR value, the more energy is absorbed by our body.

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For each mobile phone manufacturers must indicate what the SAR value is. This allows you to compare what strain mobile phones put on our bodies.

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Your phone stays active even when you’re not calling or surfing online. 

A gsm regularly sends out a short signal to the nearest mobile phone antenna. A smartphone, by contrast, is constantly connected to various wireless networks such as 4G, WiFi and Bluetooth. In other words, while a classic mobile phone sends out a short signal every now and then, a smartphone is continuously emitting signals even when you are not using it.

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Europe imposes a maximum SAR value of 2 Watt per kilogram on mobile phones. In principle, that should protect us. However, many manufacturers mislead the consumer. SAR values are measured in the laboratory, which does not correspond to how a device is used in daily life.

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The devices manufacturers put on the market comply with maximum allowed SAR values at a small distance from the body. In practice, however, most people wear their phone on their body. As a result, the absorption rate is often much higher than the SAR value indicated on the packaging of your phone when you are carrying the device on the body.

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In 2018 this gave rise to the Phonegate scandal in France. Commissioned by a television station, a specialised laboratory carried out tests on all kinds of mobile phones on the market. This time conditions were analogous to how mobile phones are used in practice. Many devices did not meet government standards. This was the case, for instance, with iPhones S5 and 8 and Samsung Galaxy A10.

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Following the Phonegate scandal, the French government published a list of more than 500 cell phone control tests, showing that more than 250 of the best-selling models exceed SAR thresholds.

Slide 10: Ref: https://drive.google.com/file/d/112yYExFecW8RKITBm14lSzd-SYvc0lvM/view?usp=sharing

As a result of the Phonegate scandal, the French Government issued a decree in 2019 recognizing that SAR values can be exceeded if wireless devices are worn close to or on the body. The government now advises citizens not to use smartphones on the body, to keep radio equipment away from the abdomen of pregnant women and also from the lower abdomen of adolescents.

Slide 11:  (Ref: The detrimental effect of cell phone radiation on sperm biological characteristics in normozoospermic – PubMed (nih.gov))

Especially for young people it is important that smartphones stay away from the genitals. There’s a reason why, over the past 20 years, male fertility decreased by 50%. A recent Iranian study, published in 2021, concludes that: “Mobile phone waves can reduce sperm characteristics such as morphology, motility, viability and DNA integrity. Therefore, it is recommended for men to keep the mobile phone away from their pelvis.”


Slide 12:  (Ref Effects of mobile phone usage on sperm quality – No time-dependent relationship on usage: A systematic review and updated meta-analysis – PubMed (nih.gov))

A Korean meta-study, published in July 2021, brings together 18 studies examining the effects of cell phone exposure on sperm. It comes to a very similar conclusion: “Mobile phone use reduces the overall sperm quality by affecting motility, viability and concentration. The quality was further reduced in the high cell phone use group. Therefore, long-term use of cell phones is a factor that should be considered a cause of sperm quality reduction.”

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In recent years, there have been more and more alarming studies about the harms of wireless technology. Technology offers many possibilities, but requires that we use it consciously and responsibly. The choice is ours.

You don’t have to get rid of your smartphone and you can certainly keep using your laptop. Direct contact with the body is, however, not recommended. Especially in the long run, wired connectivity is a healthy alternative.

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In the next episode, we give you 10 handy ideas that cost nothing and are easy to implement.

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You can support our crowdfunding against the Belgian Government and the EU.

In this way we strive together for a low-radiation living environment for ourselves and our children.  

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