Wednesday, 24 January 2007

How to ... Get cancer from a Cellphone

The energy in individual RF (radio frequency) photons (individual photons interact with individual electrons in atoms) is far to little to cause ionisation (when the electron is completely removed from the atom) or any other known mechanism for causing cancer. So if you want to get cancer from your mobile phone or your wifi network or your microwave (outside of 24/7 use) I will outline a method as follows

  1. Take your favourite RF device
  2. Open up the device and remove the circuitry
  3. Depending on the method of oscillation, you will need to alter the capacitance/inductance or the resistance of the oscillator circuit, or by reprogramming the chip.
  4. The frequency of oscillation was probably in the range of 10 - 1000 MHz (million of cycles per seconds) this will need to be increased to 100-1000 THz (million million cycles per second) ie from radio/microwaves to visible light.
  5. This causes an increase of photon energy by a factor of 10 million or so, enough to now ionise some matter and hence be a possible cause for cancer.
  6. Put device back together and turn on.
OK so a lot of people have concerns about RF radiation, for the most part these fears are unfounded in science, however this does not affect those that are worried. Of course this is not mean that a mechanism may be found in which this frequencies could have a detrimental effect outside of heating.

On the note of heating, as long as the RF radiation is not continuous (ie you have breaks from having you cell phone next to you ear) then the heat rapidly dissipates and is not an issue.

If anyone wants more information about recommended limits that were discussed at the last International Union of Radio Science (URSI) General Assembly, I can provide links to abstracts etc. It was actually a very food and informative session.

Also I would like to thank Jennifer Oullette of Cocktail Party Physics for the inspiration