Health

Unfortunately, there are always “new studies” concerning the impacts of mobile telecommunications and mobile telephony on human health, which are scientifically untenable as such, as well a host of fake news and false rumours. Here you will find some important, frequently asked questions and the corresponding answers at a glance.

Does using cell phones affect children’s health?

According to the state-of-the-art there is presently no reliable answer to the question whether and to which extent the use of cell phones has a harmful effect on the bodies of children in particular. International research teams have only recently launched studies in this field. Another problem is that in many countries studies with children and youths are prohibited for ethical reasons.

Why should the cell phone not be held to the ear during connection setup?

The radiation of the cell phone is strongest during the setup of the connection. For this reason, the cell phone should not be held to the ear before the other subscriber answers. The same is true for poor cell phone reception. Here, too, the phone radiation is stronger because the phone needs more power to maintain the connection.

What is electrosensitivity?

There are people who sometimes or continuously suffer from various unspecific symptoms such as headache, rheumatic pains, insomnia, dizziness, lack of concentration, or listlessness. Many of them believe that their problems are due to electromagnetic fields of electrically operated appliances (= electrosensitivity). However, there is no scientific evidence of this effect so far.  Impairments of the individual condition may be caused by many other factors, for example by stress, problematic life situations or the consumption of cigarettes.

What is a thermal effect?

High-frequency electromagnetic fields (mobile radio) are partly absorbed by the human body. Part of the energy is converted into heat - this effect is hardly perceivable for humans, however.

Why does the ear warm up during a phone call?

Some cell phone users feel that their ear gets warm during mobile phoning. However, this heat is not the result of electromagnetic radiation but is mainly caused by the pressing of the mobile phone against the ear and the warming up of the electronics inside the mobile phone. After about 25 minutes, the ear heats up by 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Mobile phone radiation compared to other sources of radiation

Public discussions often create the impression that mobile communications is the only source of electromagnetic radiation. However, actually mobile communications constitutes only a very small part of the high-frequency fields surrounding us. Radio and TV stations, wireless phones or ambulance, police and fire brigade radio create high-frequency electromagnetic fields as well. They all contribute to total radiation. In the surroundings of a radio or TV station the radiation from this station is often significantly higher than that from the mobile radio antenna on the roof of a neighbour’s house.

Total stress associated with high-frequency electromagnetic fields

It is a fact that electromagnetic radiation is emitted not only by mobile communications devices but also by numerous other sources (television and radio stations etc. - see above). What counts in the end is the total stress - the sum of the radiation from electromagnetic fields to which individuals are exposed. Nevertheless, when using the empirical formula usually not more than 20 % of the threshold values established by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) are reached. It should be emphasised that the established threshold values apply to the sum of all expositions to the high-frequency radiation that reaches individuals.

Can a pacemaker/an implanted defibrillator be affected by mobile phones?

Existing studies indicate that pacemakers or implanted defibrillators are hardly ever affected by the electromagnetic fields of mobile phone systems (cell phone, smartphone). As a preventive measure, it is recommended to maintain a distance of 10 to 20 cm between the pacemaker and the cell phone/smartphone. Furthermore, patients should not keep their cell phones/smartphones in their breast pockets and should use the ear which is further away from the pacemaker (in most cases the right ear) when calling. As a matter of principle, the issue should at all events be discussed with the patient’s physician.

Do persons who have to do with mobile communications antennas in their jobs need to protect themselves in particular?

Specialists who have to perform work close to mobile communications antennas and other sources of high-frequency electromagnetic radiation (television and radio stations etc.) protect themselves by maintaining specific safety distances from the antenna, which differ depending from the type of antenna. In principle, harmful effects can be avoided in this way.