Mobile Phones

Mobile phones emit radio frequency (wireless) radiation which is absorbed by the part of the body closest to it as it transmits, whether or not a call is being made.

Mobiles and health

In 2011 the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified radio frequency radiation emitted by mobile phones as a Class 2B carcinogen, even though this radiation complies with Australian and international standards. This decision was made on the basis of studies that have shown increased rates of brain tumours in long-term mobile phone users.

Mobile phone radiation is known to produce potentially-harmful changes in the body such as oxidative stress, genetic damage, hormonal changes, and changes to neurotransmitters, changes to memory, learning and behaviour. In addition, people report symptoms from mobile phone use such as heat, headache, dizziness, confusion, memory and concentration problems. If you experience symptoms from mobile phone use, we invite you to let us know by completing our symptoms form.

Mobiles, litigation and insurance

The telecommunications industry has admitted that its business may be affected by litigation and/or studies finding health effects from exposure.

Further, the policies of many insurances companies from around the world exclude cover for electromagnetic radiation. You can see the evidence, compiled by the Environmental Health Trust (USA) here.

Watch where you put your phone

When you carry a mobile next to your body, your body absorbs radiation. A US study reported that three women who carried their mobile phones in their bras developed breast tumours that exactly matched the position of their phones’ antennas.

Mobiles and children

Mobile phones are used by approximately five billion people worldwide, many of them children. Children are thought to be more vulnerable because their heads absorb more radiation and they have a potential lifetime of exposure. If there is a negative impact from this technology, it is likely to be huge.

Other reasons for protecting yourself from mobile phone radiation

  • The 13-country Interphone study, conducted by the WHO, found that heavy and long-term users of mobile phones had increased rates of glioma brain tumours – based on using a phone for just 30 minutes a day.
  • Swedish researchers have found that long-term mobile phone use is linked with higher rates of several brain tumours.
  • Many respected authorities recommend reducing exposure to mobile phone radiation – especially for children.
  • Many people report symptoms from using a mobile phone, such as headaches, pressure, heat, tingling and concentration problems.
  • Manufacturers’ user manuals advise against holding a mobile phone directly against the head.

Radiation standards

Australian standards protect against acute, short-term effects of exposure. However, there is no standard that protects against continuous, long-term use. Internationally, many governments have advocated taking precautions to reduce exposure to mobile phone radiation, especially for children who are often thought to be more vulnerable.

Resources and media

You'll see useful information about mobile phones in several articles we've had published.

Lyn McLean talks with Robyn Williams on 'Ockham's Razor', 2011

Hear Lyn McLean talk about mobile phone radiation and how to protect yourself in an interview with Stuart and Guy from 180 Nutrition here.

Current affairs - 'Wake Up Call' aired on '60 Minutes' on 3 April, 2009.

Today Tonight - 'Tumour Risk' aired 2 May, 2008. 

60 Minutes - 'Wake up Call' aired 4 April 2012. 

NBC Bay area news, 'Berkeley's 'Right to Know' Cell Phone Radiation Warning Ordinance Now in Effect', March 2016.

Catalyst, 'Wi-Fried', February, 2016.

Mobile phone shielding solutions

1:  Shield mobile phone radiation with the BlocSock

Our BlocSock mobile phone shield blocks 96% of radiation absorption. The BlocSock protects you when the phone is held close to the head for a call or when it is carried close to your body – in a pocket, for example – while it is turned on.

2: Shield mobile phone radiation with Tubez

The Echo Tubez is an airtube headset for mobile phones that reduces exposure to the head by up to 98% while it is turned on.

3: The Force 

Written by Lyn McLean, The Force provides information about mobile phone technology, how to protect yourself, studies that have found evidence of harm, international standards, precautions other countries are applying in and more.

4: Wireless Wise Kids

Written by Lyn McLean and illustrated by Janet Selby.  Teach your children how to use wireless technology safely with ‘Wireless-wise Kids’, a picture book for children and adults.

Beware: products that claim to ‘harmonise’ mobile phone radiation do not reduce the radio frequency signal which is still present and measurable!

Help save gorilla habitat in Africa ... recycle your old mobile phone.

Mobile phones contain coltan, a rare heavy metal that is illegally mined in Africa. The mining of coltan has harmful consequences for minters and for the gorillas, whose habitat is being destroyed. When you recycle your mobile phone at the address below, the coltan is recycled. Funds from the recycling program are shared between the Jane Goodall Institute and the Taronga Foundation to support conservation work. You can send your phone to:

Aussie Recycling Program
Locked Bag 4000
Moorabbin Vic 3189


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