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6 Tips for Safer Cell Phone Use

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“I can’t tell you that cell phones are dangerous, but I can tell you that I’m not sure they’re safe.” – Devra Davis

By Posted Mar 23, 2011

Cellphone safety As developments in cell phone technology leap forward, the studies of potential health impacts associated with cell phone use present confusing and inconclusive results. And yet the entrenchment of cell phone use in our daily lives makes it more difficult to function without these wireless devices.

Dr. Devra Davis, an epidemiologist and toxicologist, believes that potential risks associated with cell phone use are being downplayed, similar to the way the hazards of cigarette smoke and toxic chemicals in the home were disregarded for years. Her recent book, Disconnect – the truth about cell phone radiation, investigates the data on cell phones and cancer, as well as the wireless industry’s efforts to stave off regulation.

Davis cites evidence of studies, some decades old, showing that the radio-frequency radiation used by cell phones could indeed have biological effects — enough to damage DNA and potentially contribute to brain tumors. She found that other countries — like France and Israel — had already acted, discouraging the use of cell phones by children and even putting warning signs on handsets. She found evidence of dramatic increases in certain kinds of brain tumors among unusually young patients who were heavy users of cell phones.

And, just as she saw with tobacco and lung cancer, Davis discovered that the wireless industry — often with the help of governments — had discouraged independent scientists who studied cell phones, and helped produced questionable science that effectively clouded the issue. “This is about the most important and unrecognized public health issues of our time,” says Davis.

Cell and wireless phones are a problem because the transmitter, though small, is held against your head, or very near it, and is often held for long periods of time. Microwaves in the frequencies used can cause “holes” in the blood-brain barrier, allowing things usually kept out of the brain into it. They also cause damage to DNA and other cell structures.

Damage is related to age of exposure and the amount of exposure – both the signal strength and the quantity and duration. Effects are greatly reduced by distance from the source.

According to Dr. Davis, the following tips may help mitigate potential harm from cell phone use:

  1. Children and youth under 20 shouldn’t use cell or wireless phones except in emergencies.
  2. Keep cell phones turned off unless absolutely necessary. When they are on, don’t carry them in your pocket or against your body. Keep the back of the phone, where the antenna is, facing away from your body.
  3. Use a headset or wireless headphone with low power. This removes the phone from right beside your brain.
  4. Use your phone only when/where the signal is good. In marginal areas, it steps up its power output, so you are exposed to more radiation.
  5. Text rather than talk. It uses less power and exposes you less. If you need to talk, use your phone on speaker, and keep it further from your head. If you place it on your lap, use a barrier (like a book) between your phone and your body.
  6. Pregnant women should keep cell and wireless phones away from their abdomen, and everyone should keep cell and wireless phones away from babies, children and youth.

Whenever possible, Dr. Davis advises people to use a land-line for phone communications. Land lines work without emitting radiation, and will continue to work when the power goes out.

Until the safety of cell phone use is established conclusively, it seems the best approach for users is to err on the side of caution. The tips outlined above are practical and easy to implement, while enabling users to continue to enjoy the benefits of wireless communication.

Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family, by Devra Davis


Posted in Science and Transportation Tags , , ,
  • Jon

    This truly is a fascinating topic. It's sad that so much will be downplayed in just about any industry simply to keep hands greased. But, we all have choices to make and we need to use good sense.

    It's funny but I didn't even use a cell phone until I was around 20 years old anyway. Even having one now I don't use more than 50 talk minutes per month and normally use it for texting.

    Thank you for sharing these tips…


    • Greg Seaman

      Thanks Jon. I think it's prudent on your part to restrict your cell phone use.

  • Ankit Saini

    I follow your guide and improve my life span…
    Thanks for sharing this great article..

  • sulu

    A billion dollar industry is not going to look hard for related health issues. The goal of corporations is to make money, and let the buyer beware!

  • Lenny

    Use speaker phone for calls over a few minutes. Should take care of most exposure problems, if any exist.

  • guest

    I think we would not give up cell phone use even if proven to be harmful due to radiation. These phones are too much part of our lives now. Hoping that manufacturers can find ways to make them safer because they are here to stay.

  • jobs

    Most people tend to downplay the dangers in using cell phone but i think time has come that we need to face its health risk squarely.

  • Sander

    The cell phone industry is not going to concern itself with health issues when there's a fortune at stake. The government is influenced by the cell industry lobby, so they drag their feet on testing and regulating for safety. I use these devices with caution and would suggest they never be given to children until such time as they are proven safe.

  • Stavros

    Of the many studies of cellphone hazards to human health, none have found solid proof of risk for cellphone radiation. The National Toxicology Program has begun a comprehensivestudy with results due in 2014. Until then, I would keep cellphones out of the hands of young children, but otherwise I'm not worried about this.

  • What a very informative article and nice tips too. With the constant need for communication and portability, cellphones are becoming a constant companion to just about anybody. I will surely take note of the 6 tips you gave, well just to be sure.

  • anoop

    Though I think this advice is absolutely correct, I dont think 99.9% people would follow it, because its just not possible to switch of the cell phone in today’s world.

  • Tyler

    Use a wired earpiece. If not using an earpiece, keep the phone at lease 5/8 inch away from the head. This is the advice of cell phone manufacturers. I don't think people read the instructions because everyone presses them against their heads.
    Long term studies are not available. I say it's risky technology and let the user beware.

  • Sensible Bill

    This is plain and simple stupid. If using a cell phone is hazardous to your health then listening to the radio is also hazardous to your health. These waves are everywhere whether you have a cell phone or not. Save a battery in your phone is leaking there is nothing that will harm you while using a phone.

  • julia

    What a very informative article and nice tips too.Thank you for sharing these tips

  • sushant

    Very informative article. After reading this article i also prefer talking on speaker ( I don't have a wired earpiece ). Please guys take the hazards caused by transmission waves while talking on a mobile phones seriously . Share this information with your near and dear ones.

  • Khabri Chacha

    Moreover one must not talk on phone when, the phone is at charging mode.

    Khabri Chacha

  • Shaun

    Thanks for the great info…….

  • quintessencecreations

    There has been alot of interest in this subject. Great advice. I’ve also read that there are devices that can help us identify how much EMF is being transmitted by devices in the home. I bought one and was amazed at how much EMF is generated.

  • Laptouri

    If it so harmful for us then i can imagine how much it may dangerous for kids who always love to have cell and play with it, moreover when it is on charging it may explode human brain as i am the eyewitness of one such case.So all of u reading my comment please avoid using your cell during charging.

  • kevinray999

    I think cellphones are really harmful for children.

  • Toby Crane

    I enjoyed these tips. Thanks for sharing. They should publish these six tips in a cell phone store so that all users get the advantage of learning them as they buy a cell phone.

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