Mobile phones have been in a constant limelight due to the detrimental effects and stress levels caused by them. A recent study from the University of Toronto has revealed that mobiles could be home to toxic chemicals.
Scientists from the University of Toronto have presented the first ever study, which has detected handheld electronic devices as a potential source of exposure to ‘organophosphate esters’, the chemical often used either as flame retardants or plasticizers that produce flexible and substantial materials such as PVC. “We are more concerned with these chemicals as they have been linked to neurotoxicity, decreased fertility, and thyroid problems,” says Miriam Diamond, a lead author of the study and a professor of Faculty of Arts & Science at the University of Toronto.
This research has identified that there are correlations between the organophosphate esters on electronic devices and urine. Furthermore, they have also determined that levels of flame retardants and plasticizers were way too much higher on the handheld devices such as mobile phones and tablets, than on the TV’s, laptops, or desktop computers.
Such studies call out for increased focus on human health as well as environmental impacts of electronics. There is no doubt that, at present, the electronics industry standards cover thermal, optical, electrical, and sound product safety. But, the study reveals that the organophosphate esters studied here are used as replacements for the banned chemicals; and increasing evidence indicates that these substituting chemicals are harmful at a greater extent.
“Periodically wiping down your cell phone should lower the levels of these toxic chemicals on the device and hence on your hands. We need to be aware of and try to reduce the usage of our handheld devices, specifically by kids”, advises Miriam Diamond.

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