Mobile Myths - Fact or Fiction
This section explores some of the common myths often associated with mobile phones and wireless technology.
Can a mobile phone cook an egg?
Can a mobile phone cook popcorn?
Can a mobile phone cause an explosion at a petrol station?
Can a mobile phone attract lightning in a storm?
Are mobile phone signals linked to a decline in bee numbers?
Does a "shield" reduce emissions from a mobile phone or make them safer?
A popular internet myth is that mobile phones can cook an egg. One of the claims is that an egg placed between 2 mobile phones in a continuous call would be cooked in 65 minutes - Can this be true?
Simply - No. Mobile phones are very low powered (0.25W maximum), and if you assumed all of the power was deposited in the egg, there would be very little temperature increase certainly way below the amount required to cook an egg which is 70 degrees Celsius or more.
Some video clips were circulated on the internet in May 2008 claiming that it is possible to cook popcorn using the electromagnetic energy from three or four transmitting mobile phones. Such video clips are a hoax.
The claim that RF energy from several mobile phones can cook popcorn cannot be true as they do not generate anywhere near enough RF energy to pop the corn.
A company called Cardo Systems has admitted that they were responsible for making the video clips and that the "videos are factitious and humorous optical illusions designed for entertainment".
Mobile phones do not cause petrol stations to explode. There is no evidence that a mobile phone has ever caused an explosion at a petrol station anywhere in the world according to the UK Institute of Petroleum.
The amount of radio frequency energy emitted from mobile phones is too low to cause a spark that could ignite petrol.
In 1991 Shell UK assessed the risks of a radio frequency spark from mobile phones and had found that mobile phones did not represent a meaningful hazard. By far the greatest hazard, apart from smoking and striking matches, was the car.
Contrary to some media reports, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) advises that “Cell phones, small metal items, jewelery, etc., do not attract lightning..... Lightning tends to strike taller objects."
"People are struck because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. The wrong place is anywhere outside. The wrong time is anytime a thunderstorm is nearby."
Common sense should always apply during thunderstorms. Guidelines for decreasing the risk of lightning strike are available from organisations such as NOAA and National Governments.
Mobile phone signals have been cleared from an association with reduction in bee numbers.
The United States Department of Agriculture says that there is no link between mobile phones and CCD. They also quote Stefan Kimmel, the researcher who conducted the German study as saying that there is "no link between our tiny little study and the CCD-phenomenon ... anything else said or written is a lie." Many of the media reports included a statement attributed to Albert Einstein but it is uncertain whether he made the statement. In addition, a 1981 study of bees exposed to 2450MHz signals at much higher powers found no effect on bee behaviour.
vnunet.com also reports on the real cause below
"Fears that mobile phone signals were responsible for a dramatic decline in bee numbers have proved wrong after new research identified the real culprit.
Researchers at Landau University in Koblenz published research in April suggesting that bees were being "confused" by mobile phone signals. The scientists stated that this was driving the spread of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and leading to the bee deaths.
CCD has caused the death of up to 90 per cent of commercially managed bees in the US, putting $8bn worth of crops at risk which rely on bees for pollination.
But researchers from US universities have identified a virus which they claim is causing the deaths. It is believed to have come from imported bees and royal jelly and has spread rapidly through apiaries."
read the reports on vnunet.com ...
From time to time various products are marketed claiming to increase the safety of mobile phone use. These products generally take the form of shielded cases, earpiece pads/shields, antenna clips/caps, so-called absorbing buttons and ‘neutraliser’ chips.
A mobile phone automatically operates on the lowest power necessary to maintain a quality call. Adding a device that interferes with the normal operation of a mobile phone can result in reducing the phone’s efficiency. This can lead to;
- reduced coverage
- reduced battery life
- increased heat generated by the phone
- increased transmitter power (up to the specified maximum)
Mobile phones are designed to comply with scientifically based safety standards. The WHO states that ‘shield’ products are unnecessary and that the effectiveness of many such devices in reducing RF exposure is unproven.
Consumer protection and fair trading agencies in the US, Australia and New Zealand have brought successful legal actions against the unsubstantiated claims of effectiveness by some manufacturers/agents of these types of devices.
The WHO advises that:
“The use of commercial devices for reducing radiofrequency field exposure has not been shown to be effective.”
The WHO also provides information on how to reduce mobile phone exposure:
“In addition to using "hands-free" devices, which keep mobile phones away from the head and body during phone calls, exposure is also reduced by limiting the number and length of calls. Using the phone in areas of good reception also decreases exposure as it allows the phone to transmit at reduced power.”
More myths coming soon.....