CELL PHONE RADIATION: What you Need to Know
by Rachel Rothman
When most of us get a new cell phone, we charge it, activate it, and immediately begin to use it. The one step must of us overlook is reading the instruction manual. Even if you are one of those people who can seamlessly use a new device without reading the use and care information, I urge you to take the time to do so - especially to learn about potential dangers the phone can pose and how to minimize them.Lately, cell phone radiation has been getting a lot of press. In November, TIME wrote about how federal regulations should be placed on the signal strength of phones, and a prominent epidemiologist and writer, Devra Davis, wrote Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family, detailing the risks of cell phone radiation. While most of the data provided thus far has been inconclusive, more research is ongoing. The most recent information I've seen, published in the last issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, said cell phone radiofrequency radiation does "affect(s) brain function" - but it didn't say what lasting effects it can have on the body.
Want to know what you can do to minimize your exposure to radio waves? Follow the tips below:
Use a headset or a wireless headphone with a low-power Bluetooth emitter.
Use a belt clip or keep the phone at least an inch away from your body.
Keep your phone turned off if it is next to your body all day. If your phone must be on, face the keypad toward your body. And when it's not being used, stow it in a bag or purse.
Whenever possible, use your phone when the signal is strongest. The weaker the signal, the more the radio frequency boosts itself to get connected.
Send a text instead of calling when possible or appropriate. Phones use less radiation to text than to speak and texting keeps radiation from your head.
If you can, put your phone on speakerphone so you can keep it at a distance from your head.
Tell your tweens and teens not to sleep with their phone under their pillows or next to their beds.
Keep your phone away from your new baby and away from the abdomen if you are expecting. Fetus' and babies' brains are most susceptible to radiation.
Read your user's guide and visit the FCC Website to find more details and precautions.
Now you may be wondering why information about something that may cause damage to the human body is buried in the safety manual and not clearly labeled on the product. You're not alone. A bill has been proposed in Maine to require warning labels on phones sold in the state that would read: "This device emits electromagnetic radiation, exposure to which may cause brain cancer. Users, especially pregnant women and children, should keep away from the head and body." Mobile phones have become an integral part of our lives and it's na´ve to think that we will forsake them. While findings thus far vary on the effects of cell phone radiation, my advice is to err on the cautious side by making yourself aware of the potential dangers and doing everything you can to minimize them.