Whilst we all know about the health problems associated with mobile phones, it is a little known fact that modern DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) phones have similar health problems. According to Powerwatch, an independent group which has been researching the links between electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and health risks for about 17 years, digital cordless phones emit microwave radiation just like mobile phones and masts, wireless broadband, bluetooth devices and some household appliances. They say that even low levels of microwave radiation have been linked to sleep disorders, headaches, memory and concentration problems, behavioural changes, even cancer and that some of these symptoms can be reversed with removal of DECT phones.
Another group, TETRAWATCH, which primarily campaigns against the new police radio system called TETRA, state that DECT base units are like mobile phone masts and they emit microwaves continuously 24 hours a day. Users of a phone close to its main base unit are exposed to two separate doses of microwave radiation. Unlike mobile phone handsets which turn down their output to the lowest adequate level once a link is established, the DECT phone does not.
However, according to the UK government body the Health Protection Agency, "A proportion of the power in the radio signals emitted from a cordless phone is absorbed in the head of the user, just as it is with a mobile phone but they have output powers too low to exceed exposure guidelines under any circumstances. On this basis, the HPA does not consider their use to be hazardous to health."
TETRAWATCH suggest that if you must use a DECT phone, keep the base unit and remote extra handsets away from where you sit or sleep, and remember that you are transmitting into neighbouring property through your walls and your neighbour maybe transmitting to you.
The alternative is to use corded phones or analogue cordless phones. Which? maintains that you get a better sound quality with a corded phone and anyway, cordless phones don't work if there is a power cut. Binatone, BT, Cable & Wireless, Doro, Geemarc and Siemens produce corded phones whilst BT, Panasonic, Cable & Wireless, Binatone, ntl and Doro make analogue cordless phones.
For more information see 'EMF and Microwave Protection for
you and your family' - by Alasdair & Jean Philips from the Powerwatch website
Also visit the Tetrawatch website at www.tetrawatch.net/science/dect.php
and the 'Cordless phones are a pain' page on the ElectroSensitivity website
The Health Protection Agency is at www.hpa.org.uk
Ethiscore.org also carries a report on telephone line rental.