Saturday, 24 January 2009

Radioactive woman

For the past few weeks, or month I have had a recurring headache. It comes with a bang and lasts just a few minutes and it's always localised, just at the entrance of my right ear, just above the earlobe. I've been wondering what could have caused it and just this morning I thought of the fact that I always speak on the phone on that ear (and no, I don't have fancy bluetooth, nor the patience to untangle my handsfree every time there is a call).

Suddenly I was reminded of all the radiation we expose ourselves to without knowing the damage. Because really, how much can scientists tell us? Some claim using the mobile phone at an angle reduces the radiation to a fraction, some say Bluetooth and handsfree are safe while others say it's actually worse as the radiation is going straight into our ears. I say it's too early to trust anyone. After all, we've only been using these electronics for a few decades.

Take a quick trip down memory lane and you'll realise that back in the eighties, the only digital sunlight we received in our homes was from our digital clockradio.

I remember in 1988 when Annika and I were the first in our class to get microwave ovens. How many of us didn't stand in front of them watching the microwaves cook our food in seconds? Even remotes weren't in full use until the late eighties/early nineties (I know this as I bitterly remember it being the duty of the youngest person present to change the channel from Kanal 1 to TV2 on our big, white Torn TV).

Today we surround ourselves with wonders of the digital, wireless world. We cook in our microwaves, talk on our cordless phones and mobiles, work (read blog and stay on Facebok) on our laptops and browse oaway on our wireless networks without considering for a second how that wireless network surrounding our homes is affecting our health. (Although, living close to the area known as La Wireless Area and hearing of the many cases of cancer that occurred there ahs made me a bit more aware of the dangers.)

Could it be time to get back to basics for a bit? Plug the cord-led phone back in, turn off the wireless and start using the broadband cord, cook on the stove, put on a vinyl record and wonder if life was actually half-bad just two decades ago.

On that note of "gloom and doom, we're all gonna die!", have a good weekend!


Abena Serwaa said...

Very interesting piece. I hope the headaches go away soon.
You are so right that we take for granted alot of harmful things that we are exposed to. Just last week, an enivronmental toxicologist from NYU came to give a fascinating talk at my workplace about environmental poisons. He covered the effects of lead poisoning especially from old paint chippings, mercury poisoning from fish and carbon monoxide poisoning from traffic. It was scary stuff! I mean, do we ever think about where exactly the fish we eat comes from? Or how much carbon monoxide we breath in everyday in Accra? Well, I guess it is comforting to know that we all have to die of something one day!!

novisi said...

very thought provoking Maya!

i pray for that a more vibrant consumer protection-sensitive society will be developed by us to keep the alarm bells ringing...

and yes Abena, we all will die of something one day, but let us reduce the the preventable ones some more...and if this life is not an ...


Abena Serwaa said...

Hey Novisi, I beg....I was not being entirely serious there. I'm in the business of prevention so for me prevention is paramount!

The Author said...

Maya, maybe the headaches are caused by something other than radiation. We all read the scary stories about how all the technology surrounding us helps us 'now' only to hurt us later. But can we realistically push them away now?

Maya Mame said...

So true, Abena, we just go about our lives not thinking of all the toxins around us. The only time it really hits me is when I go to Aburi and inhale fresh air. Suddenly I realise I must be inhaling all kinds of crap the rest of the time. It also worries me that in Ghana environmental consciousness hasn't happened yet, people burning plastic bags by the roadside-what the hell is that??

Seems like you're in that area of work though, so I hope to see some changes soon. ;)

Maya Mame said...

Yes Novisi, I look forward to the day that the average Ghanaian knows/has a compost and actively separates his rubbish for recycling.

Maya Mame said...

Nana Yaw, I don't think radiation has caused the headaches either, they just got me thinking in that direction. I don't think we can reverse the damage we've done to Mother Nature, but there is still a lot we can do to slow down the destruction. I can give you countless examples of things the ordinary Swede does which could easily be implemented in Ghana, and which we'd benefit more from here, especially financially. For example, it frustrates me that we are not valuing the huge potential of solar and wind power that we have here in our beauiful, coastline country.


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