Protection from mobile phone radiation

Within hipi’s phone pocket lies a radiation barrier. This fabric is specifically produced to protect from microwave radiation. Like Wi-Fi, DECT cordless phones and Bluetooth, mobile phones emit carrier wave frequencies within the microwave band of the electromagnetic spectrum. The cellphone radiates microwaves from its antenna which reach the cell tower, and vice-versa.

Why shield from microwaves? Do they cause any damage?

Some people are concerned about radiation from mobile phones causing cancer and damaging cell DNA.

Unlike ionising radiation like x-rays and cosmic rays however, microwaves do not have enough energy to remove an electron from (or ionise) an atom or molecule, which is said to cause DNA damage which may lead to cancer.

Microwaves are said to have enough energy to move atoms in a molecule around or cause them to vibrate, which thus causes them to heat up, but not enough to ionise (remove charged particles such as electrons).

“As I understand it, the established danger of microwaves from cellphones is akin to the effect of microwaves from a microwave oven, i.e. heat, except that the power is not high and contained enough to cook you, as an oven would cook meat,” says hipi designer Su-Lin Chee.

* The American Cancer Society (ACS) states that the IARC classification means that there could be some cancer risk associated with radiofrequency energy, but the evidence is not strong enough to be considered causal and needs to be investigated further.

Major studies carried out in recent years seem to be inconclusive whether mobile phone radiation would cause cancer, and that it’s not proven either way*. Nevertheless, bodies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Agency and the American Cancer Society still see fit to recommend means for reducing radio frequency exposure.

* In 2011, the International Agency for Research on CancerExit Disclaimer (IARC), a component of the World Health Organization classified cell phone use as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” based on limited evidence from human studies, limited evidence from studies of radio frequency energy and cancer in rodents, and inconsistent evidence from mechanistic studies. The World Health Organisation nevertheless concluded in 2014 that, “to date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use.” 

Protective barrier

“Nevertheless, given the possible risks and the fact that I like to have my phone at hand most of the time, I decided that having a shield for my body against its radiation would still be ideal,” says Chee about how she decided upon the radiation barrier.

The fabric was sourced from U.S. speciality shop LessEMF.com which describes it as “a radiation reflector which causes the majority of the signal to bounce off, somewhat like a mirror reflects light… It will usually offer better shielding (less RF transmission) than an absorbing material.”

Further features include:

  • exceptionally high RF shielding performance with > 50 dB attenuation (reduction)
  • Made with a blend of natural materials: 70% bamboo fiber and 30% Silver. 
  • Silver gives the fabric anti-bacterial and anti-odor qualities. 

“Placing a shield between the phone and the body, such as lining a pocket or purse with a shielding fabric blocks the emitted radiation on one side of the phone, the side between the phone and your body,” continues LessEMF.com.

This premium fabric was also tested to continue consistently working after several washes.

Other questions

Would the hipi interfere with my phone receiving calls?

No, your phone is still open to receiving calls on the external side of the hipi (away from the body).

Do I even need protection when I’m not making a call or text?

When a phone is on and not in use, it send outs an intermittent signal to connect with nearby cell phone towers,” according to the Environmental Working Group, a Washington D.C. non-profit, non-partisan organization which works to protect human health and the environment. “The phone’s “check in” communication with the tower is significantly lower than the level of radiation used for actual conversation, but it never falls to zero.

lost-phone

Why not just leave it on the table, or in a handbag?

Sure, many find this convenient but if you are anything like the hipi‘s designer, you may just leave your phone in all manners of places, from a restaurant seat to some corner of the home, only to have to call yourself to search for it later! And leaving your phone in your handbag often leads to calls not being heard and missed, don’t you find?