Recommendations Regarding the Educated Use of Mobile Phones in Israel

 

In 2002 The Customer Protection Act (Information on non-ionizing radiation from mobile phones) emphasized the duty to mark the fact that the phone emits non-ionizing radiation on the packaging of a mobile phone and display information as to the level of exposure from specific phone models to the public in leaflets.

In 2008 the Israeli Ministry of Health updated its recommendations regarding the educated use of mobile phones, and published them on the Ministry of Health Website.   These recommendations take into account the technological requirements of the Israeli society, alongside the degree of caution necessitated by the up-to-date scientific information, in order to strike a balance between the needs of the population and the duty to safeguard its health.  In general, the Ministry of Health adopts the guidelines of most international organizations, which recommend implementing the precautionary principle in using mobile phones.

 

The IARC (International Association for Research on Cancer) passed a resolution in 2011, whereby radiation emitted by mobile phones was classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans, thus provided additional support to the application of the precautionary principle in formulating guidelines for educated use,

In view of the increased use of radiofrequency radiation-emitting devices by the general public, the TNUDA center staff will shortly publish up-to-date, more detailed, recommendations regarding the educated use of mobile phones and other radiofrequency radiation technologies.

 

Ministry of Health Recommendations:

  • Use of  a personal speaker or earphones (not wireless) while conversing - distancing the mobile phone from the user's body reduces the exposure to radiofrequency radiation emitted by the phone.  It is therefore recommended to hold the phone away from the body and not to carry it close to the body (e.g. on a trouser belt, in a pocket or hung around the neck by a cord).
  Use of earphones while conversing
   

Use of earphones while conversing

  • Reducing number and duration of conversations by mobile phone.

  • Where reception is weak (in areas where there are antennas are sparse, or reception is disturbed, as in an elevator, train, etc.), the degree of exposure increases, therefore conversing in such situations should be avoided.  The level of reception is indicated on the phone, so that these situations may be readily identified.

    The recommendation not to use the phone in locations with poor reception stems from the fact that the energy emitted by the mobile phone varies according to the quality of reception.  The technology used in the newer models of mobile phones includes a mechanism of power regulation.  Where reception is poor (e.g. areas with few antennas, parking garages or elevators) the phone emits relatively more radiation, and where reception is good (many antennas in vicinity) the regulatory mechanism of the phone causes it to emit less radiation

 

Man using phone outside the elevator

         Man using phone outside the elevator

 

  • Use while driving.  It is advisable to refrain from using the mobile phone while driving, or in any case to act according to Amendment 28 (b) of the Transport Act (1961) (pdf document available for downloading - Hebrew), published in 2009. This amendment stipulates that while the vehicle is in motion the driver may not hold a phone (fixed or cellular), but may use it in the vehicle only with a hands-free accessory, and may not send or receive messages (SMS). According to this amendment, a hands-free accessory is considered as such if it enables speaking on the phone without holding it; therefore if the accessory is contained in the phone, the phone must be placed in a secure holder to prevent its falling.  When a mobile phone is installed permanently in the vehicle it is advisable to attach an antenna outside the vehicle, and to give preference to a wired connection between the phone and the microphone, over the use of a Bluetooth system.

 

         

Holder for mobile phone in vehicle

Holder for mobile phone in vehicle 

 

Young girl holding phone while driving

Young girl holding phone while driving 

 

Use of Bluetooth while driving

 Use of Bluetooth while driving

 

Ministry of Health recommendations for educated use of mobile phones by children and adolescents

The Ministry of Health recommends paying particular attention to safety measures for children, who are generally considered more sensitive to developing cancer through exposure to carcinogens.

The Ministry of Health recommends that parents limit the exposure of children to mobile phones as much as possible, consider the child's age at start of use, diminish the extent of use, and in any case ensure the use of earphones (not wireless) or a speaker when using a mobile phone.

The Ministry of Health's recommendations reflect the desire to strike a balance between the ever-increasing use among children and consideration for their health and safety.

 

Use of mobile phones in hospitals

The Ministry of Health recommendations also dealt with the issue of use of mobile phones within the premises of hospitals in a Medical Administration circular (pdf document available for downloading - Hebrew), addressed to Hospital Directors.

 

  • May the mobile phone be used in hospitals?

The Medical Administration circular stipulates that the use of mobile phones and wireless communication devices in a hospital must ensure the health and safety of patients on the one hand, while allowing the staff, patients and their families to enjoy the practical advantages of using mobile phone services.  The circular specifies the areas within a hospital where the use of mobile phones is totally prohibited, and areas where it is allowed (while ensuring a safe distance from those locations where life-saving systems or equipment are located).

 

  • Can the use of a mobile phone interfere with the operation of medical equipment?

As a rule, modern medical equipment is adequately protected from radiofrequency radiation, so that in general the phone is believed not to affect its regular functioning.

However, the Ministry of Health recommends that the mobile phone should not be placed in the immediate vicinity (less than 30-50 cm) of the medical equipment attached to the patient's body or transplanted in it.

 

References

  • Ministry of Health Website, updated to 5.06.2011, accessed 5.01.2014

            www.health.gov.il/English/Topics/radiation/cell_phone/Pages/default.aspx

  • Medical Administration circular 71/2002 "Procedures related to the use of mobile phones and wireless devices in the precincts of a hospital" (16.12.2002)

            www.health.gov.il/hozer/mr71_2002.pdf (Hebrew)

 

21.12.15