According to a new report from the California Department of Public Health, there may be increased health risks from exposure to radiofrequency energy from cell phones.
What is RF energy?
- Cell phones work by sending and receiving signals to and from cell phone towers
- These signals are a form of electromagnetic radiation called radiofrequency (RF) energy
- When a phone sends signals to a tower, the RF energy goes from the phone’s antenna out in all directions, including into the head and body of the person using the phone
- Cell phones also emit RF energy when using wifi and Bluetooth, but at lower levels
Why should parents be concerned about exposure to radiofrequency energy?
Some laboratory experiments and human health studies have suggested the possibility that long-term, high use of cell phones may be linked to certain types of cancer and other health effects, including:
- Brain cancer and tumors of the acoustic nerve (needed for hearing and maintaining balance) and salivary glands
- Lower sperm counts
- Headaches and effects on learning and memory, hearing, behavior, and sleep
The concerns of radiofrequency energy from cell phones in the news
There’s not a lot of research on the effects of cell-phone use on children’s and teens’ health, the [California Department of Public Health] report acknowledges, but some studies have suggested that it may be associated with hearing loss, ringing in the ears, headaches and decreased well-being. –TIME
The risks may be greater for kids because their brains and bodies are smaller and still growing (RF could have a greater effect on cells that are changing and multiplying). Moreover, the earlier someone starts using a cell phone, the longer he or she may be exposed to RF. –Forbes
How can you reduce your exposure to RF energy?
- Keep your phone away from your body
- When you talk on your cell phone, avoid holding it to your head—use the speakerphone or a headset instead
- Consider sending text messages instead of talking on the phone
- If you are streaming or if you are downloading or sending large files, try to keep the phone away from your head and body
- Carry your cell phone in a backpack, briefcase, or purse; NOT in a pocket, bra or belt holster
- Reduce or avoid using your cell phone when it is sending out high levels of RF energy, such as:
- When the cell signal is weak
- When in a fast-moving car, bus, or train
- When streaming audio or video, or downloading or sending large files
- Don’t sleep with your phone in your bed or near your head. Keep your phone at an arm’s length away
- Take off your headset when you’re not on a call
- Don’t rely on a “radiation shield” or other products claiming to block RF energy, electromagnetic fields, or radiation from cell phones