Hide this
 

Do You Know the Real Reason Cell Phone Use is Banned on Airlines?

January 12, 2010 | 137,655 views

cell phone planeAirline passengers who sneak in cell phone calls, play with gaming devices or listen to their mp3 players during takeoff or landing probably won't cause a plane crash, but they may risk a confrontation with flight attendants.

Researchers and aircraft companies have found almost no direct evidence of cell phones or other electronic devices interfering with aircraft systems.

The ban on wireless devices has a lot more to do with possible interference for ground networks, rather than any danger posed to aircraft systems.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) banned in-flight use of most cell phones and wireless devices in 1991, citing the reason of ground network interference. Some airlines allow passengers to use cell phones in "airplane mode," which shuts off phone transmissions.
 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

While, in theory, using a cell phone or other wireless device could interfere with the functions of an airliner, it’s not likely. Communication systems onboard planes have been shielded from electromagnetic interference since the 1960s.

The real reason why you can’t use your cell phone on a plane has much more to do with their impact on cell phone towers. If you’re flying at 35,000 feet, your cell phone’s signals could reach hundreds of towers at once, and cell phone companies are not set up to handle this type of roaming agreement.

That said, if you’re a frequent flyer you should be counting your lucky stars that cell phone use is currently prohibited on flights -- and not because you don’t have to suffer through other passengers’ loud personal calls, either!

A Flying Microwave Oven

An airplane is essentially a metal cylinder and is nearly an ideal structure to bounce around dangerous EMF radiation from any device that emits those signals inside the plane. Microwave exposure from cell phones and even Wi-Fi inside a plane is magnified by reflections from the metal body of the aircraft.

Airliners are worse than cars in this sense because there’s much less glass area relative to reflective metal. When you use a cordless phone or cell phone while standing near a metal door or refrigerator you also increase your exposure because of this reflective effect.

This holds true not only for planes and cars, but also buses, trains, elevators and any other moving vehicles, with the worst being perhaps a windowless van.

For the same reason, cell phone use should be banned at all times on commercial aircraft. Ideally, no one should be allowed to use their cell phones or laptop Wi-Fi inside a plane, even before takeoff, after landing or while sitting on the tarmac.

What Makes Cell Phones So Dangerous?

Cell phones, like all wireless communication devices, use radio (high frequency microwave) waves to transmit digital data, and the dangers of exposure were known as early as the 1950s in military applications. The hazards of radar, used in WWII, have been widely known in professional circles since the 1960s. Yet few have been willing to focus on the evidence, and the cellular industry has followed in the footsteps of the tobacco industry, vehemently denying any risks.

It’s worth remembering that the telecommunication industry is even BIGGER than Big Pharma, and they have far more influence than the drug companies.

My belief is that this exponential increase in this type of radiation exposure is far more serious a threat than tobacco ever was.

To get a better understanding of the physics and biological impact of information-carrying radio waves and the electromagnetic fields emitted from your cell phone, please review the article, "If Mobile Phones Were a Type of Food, They Simply Would Not be Licensed." 

The first major indication that cell phones might be a health hazard came out of a massive, $25-million research project funded by the Cellular Telephone Industry Association (CTIA). To the industry’s surprise and dismay, the results of the study came to the opposite conclusion from the one they were hoping for.

The study's results included findings of:

  • A nearly 300 percent increase in the incidence of genetic damage when human blood cells were exposed to radiation in the cellular frequency band
  • A significant increase in cell phone users’ risk of brain tumors at the brain’s outer edge, on whichever side the cell phone was held most often
  • A 60 percent greater chance of acoustic neuromas, a tumor affecting the nerve that controls hearing, among people who had used cell phones for six years or more
  • A higher rate of brain cancer deaths among handheld mobile phone users than among car phone users (car phones are mounted on the dashboard rather than held next to your head and the antenna was typically outside of the car)

In addition to the widespread concern about brain cancer, scientists have found that digital radio waves transmitted by cell phones and other wireless devices can:

  • Harm your blood cells and cause cellular changes
  • Damage your DNA
  • Possibly accelerate and contribute to onset of autism, and there are theories that it may be a trigger for Alzheimer’s disease because of the cellular decalcification effect.
  • Damage your eyes
  • Cause sleep disruptions, fatigue and headaches
  • Change the exchange of nutrients and toxins across the cell membrane

And in all cases, the young are much more vulnerable to these risks than adults because of their thinner skulls, smaller heads, and still-developing brains and nervous systems. Their thinner skull bones allow for greater penetration of radiation. The radiation can enter all the way into the midbrain, where tumors are more deadly.

In addition, children's cells reproduce more quickly, so they're more susceptible to aggressive cell growth. Their immune systems are also not as well developed as adults. Lastly, children face a far greater lifetime exposure. Not only should children not use cell phones, but adults should not use them (or Wi-Fi) around children -- especially in light of the fact that brain cancer has now overtaken leukemia as the number one cancer killer of children.

The Top Cell Phone Safety Tips You Should Know

Cell phones have become an integral part of life and business for many of you reading this. So if you are not yet at the point where you want to give up your cell phone entirely, then please at least take note of the precautions you can take to help reduce the serious risks to you and your family.

  • Children Should Never Use Cell Phones: Barring a life-threatening emergency, children should not use a cell phone, or a wireless device of any type. Children are far more vulnerable to cell phone radiation than adults for reasons stated above.
  • Reduce Your Cell Phone Use: Turn your cell phone off more often. Reserve it for emergencies or important matters.
  • Use A Land Line At Home And At Work: Although more and more people are switching to using cell phones as their exclusive phone contact, it is a dangerous trend and you can choose to opt out of the madness.
  • Reduce or Eliminate Your Use of Other Wireless Devices: You would be wise to cut down your use of these devices. Just as with cell phones, it is important to ask yourself whether or not you really need to use them every single time.

It's important to realize that portable phones are also highly problematic. Recent research has linked portable house phones to an increased heart rate in people who are electromagnetically sensitive.

In some individuals, portable phone exposure almost doubled their heart rate in double-blind tests. This groundbreaking research has been accepted for publication and is expected to come out this spring, along with a large number of other studies focusing on the mechanisms of action to explain the biological damage we see from this type of radiation.

If you must use a portable home phone, consider using very early non-DECT version. Unfortunately, due to the lack of labeling, the only way to know for sure whether the type of phone you have is safe is to measure the amount of radiation emitted. The Web site www.emfsafetystore.com offers a helpful summary of the various meters recommended

  • Use Your Cell Phone Only Where Reception is Good: The weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use to transmit. And the more power it uses, the more radiation it emits, and the deeper the dangerous radio waves penetrate into your body. Ideally, you should only use your phone with full bars and good reception.
  • Turn Your Cell Phone Off When Not in Use: As long as your cell phone is on, it emits radiation intermittently, even when you are not actually making a call.
  • Keep Your Cell Phone Away From Your Body When it is On: The most dangerous place to be, in terms of radiation exposure, is within about six inches of the emitting antenna. You do not want any part of your body within that area.

It's worth noting that your cell phone manual will actually tell you the minimum safety range of operation for your phone, even when not in use. For example, the iPhone states the phone must be at least 5/8 inch away from your body or ear for "safe operation." Almost all of them state that the cell phone "should NOT be worn or carried on the body."

  • Use Safer Headset Technology: Wired headsets will certainly allow you to keep the cell phone farther away from your body. However, if a wired headset is not well-shielded -- and most of them are not -- the wire itself acts as an antenna attracting ambient radiation and transmitting radiation, not only directly to your brain, but also all along your torso.

The best kind of headset to use is a combination shielded wire and air-tube headset. Although there are wires that still must be shielded, there is no wire that goes all the way up to your head.

  • Use a Shielded Case: There are several anti-radiation cases on the market, but you could also purchase a certain kind of EMF-shielding fabric, available at www.emfsafetystore.com. Making a pouch from this fabric to put inside your regular case can help shield over 99 percent of the radiation emitted if you cover the entire phone and antenna. Another thing some people do is sew a lining in their pockets with this fabric.

If you wrap most of the phone but leave the antenna out, you'd still achieve some reduction in radiation, but it would not be nearly as effective as wrapping up the entire phone. This is one approach to reduce unnecessary radiation exposure if you simply must carry the phone turned ‘on’ on your body.

Note, however, many phones today do not have an external antenna and it is not always obvious where the antenna is located in the phone. In this case, you would want to put the whole phone in a pouch made of the shielding fabric unless you are comfortable using an RF meter and can figure out where the antenna is located by experimentation.

Best advice, as a I said before, is to keep the phone away from your body. Get in the habit of carrying your phone in a purse, bag or backpack instead.


[+] Sources and References

Thank you! Your purchases help us support these charities and organizations.