Tanzania: Need to Protect Oneself When Using Cell Phone

vrijdag, 07 november 2014 - Categorie: Berichten Internationaal

Bron: allafrica.com/stories/201411060278.html .
6 nov. 2014

By Deogratias Mushi
Cell phone use is popular. However, users must take precautions.

IN the recent past, Tanzania has experienced a boom in mobile phone users, especially over the past one decade. This technology not only affects day-to-day life and communication, but has the potential to boost economic development directly and indirectly.

In creating jobs, for instance, mobile phone technology has contributed towards the reduction of poverty, but more important are its indirect effects on the economy such as the increased connectivity of firms and microenterprises which increases their access to information, facilitating the movement of money through mobile transfers.

This contributes to increased productivity and encourages diversification into new activities which are all good for an economy. According to the 2011 World Bank report, Tanzania has seen an impressive increase in mobile phone use over the last few years.

In 2011, says the report, Tanzania had 56 mobile phone subscriptions per 100 inhabitants which was almost threefold increase within four years.

Mobile phone access in Tanzania is higher than in Mozambique and Malawi and just above the sub-Saharan Africa on average. What is even more encouraging is that mobile phones are no longer confined to urban areas, but have helped remote or forgotten rural areas by providing them with virtual connectivity.

In 2010 more than one third of rural households in Tanzania owned a cell phone, up from a mere 17 per cent in 2007. There have not been more studies about cell phone usage since that particular period.

The good news is that with about half of subscribers using their phones to send or receive money, Tanzanians have been among the fastest users of mobile money services in the world.

In agriculture, a growing number of agricultural information service providers offer technical advice and market information to farmers through bulk sms, call centres or specialised applications.

Despite such successes in using cell phones, do our people know how to handle their mobile phones properly, so that they are not affected health wise?

According the Director General of Tanzania Atomic Energy Commission (TAEC), Mr Idy Mkilaha, peer-reviewed studies consisting of 31 scientists from 14 different countries have found evidence for an increase in some brain cancers (glioma and acoustic neuroma), cancers that take a while to develop and the scientists fear that long-term usage could result in more of these types of cancer.

This is according to the announcement made by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on May 31, 2011. Mr Mkilaha says that cell phones communicate using signals in the microwave spectrum.

According to him, the invisible stream of RF (radio frequency) signals penetrate our bodies when the device is held close and as well as the long-term potential for cancer, there is also the potential to impact cognitive memory functions and to cause disorientation and dizziness.

''Ample studies show that there may be side effects to cell phone usage, many studies refuting the health impacts, causing a large level of uncertainty and misunderstanding.

It is human nature to keep using something that works for us unless proven hazardous,'' he insists. He adds that a massive human experiment proves that, with more than 2-4 billion people in the world experience 70 to 80 per cent of the cell phone's en.ergy penetrating the skull, with unknown longterm outcomes.

Mr Mkilaha says that when weighing up this convenient tool with the questionable health impact control, caution and measures must be taken to reduce one's exposure from radio frequency (RF) emissions from the cell phone to prevent health hazards.

TAEC said in a recent report that return to the cord phone or land-line phone makes a large effort to take calls that we know will last a long time on a corded phone for our dayto- day communications. According to the report, there is no need to substitute a landline with a cordless phone for long conversations as these have their own health impacts.

For example, digital cordless phones radiate continuously even when they're not in use. TAEC advises mobile phone users to limit length of their phone calls conservation to avoid the associated hazards.

He says that a prolonged talk increases one's exposure to the radiated signals from his/her device, even a two minute call has been shown to alter your brain's natural electrical activity for up to an hour afterward. ''Use a hands-free device or wireless headset to increase the distance between the phone and your head.

This is the best approach, it creates distance between you and the radiating phone. When speaking, place the phone on speakerphone to allow you to hold the phone away as you speak. Prefer texting than talking to keep the cell phone away from the head. Keep phone away from you when dialing.

Phones use more radiation during connection time,'' says the report. Stay still when using a cell phone, the advises, one should not move around, because as one walks, more radiation is emitted because the phone needs to keep track and it continues to scan to keep up with the changes in position.

TAEC reports says that there is a need to turn the cell phone off when not in use, because a cell phone that is in standby mode is still emitting radiation and when it is off, the radiation ceases to function. ''Don't carry the cell phone next to your body, next to your groin; instead, keep it in a bag.

Research has shown that men wearing cell phones next to their groin have up to a 30 per cent reduction in sperm count. Keep it away from all vital organs like heart and liver,'' the report says.

One of the important issues in the TAEC report is the need to consider either not giving cell phones to children or limiting their usage to emergency circumstances.

We should keep in mind that children are more susceptible to the radiation emitted from the cell phone and their skulls are thinner and their brains are less developed. Moreover, since they are growing, their cells divide at a much faster rate, which means that the impact of radiation can be a lot worse.

We should also look for products designed to shield us as a cell phone user. There are several devices on the market offering their own claims. Read the information accompanying the products and decide what is likely to work better for you, says TAEC report. Some of the possibilities include a cell phone EMF protective device.

These are small chips or buttons that are adhered to the phone reducing the impact of the transmitter signals, a screen type shield.

This is a screen placed over the phone's earpieces or buttons that are adhered to the phone, reducing the impact of the transmitter signals, which may guarantee you good protection and save you from contracting deseases caused by your cell phone.

Betere voorlichting in Tanzania dan in Nederland.

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