Out of the seven billion people in this world, approximately six billion are avid cellphone users. Mobile phones have come a long way since their debut over 40 years ago — they have become more than just a tool used to talk and text. Many folks strongly depend on their cellular phones, using it for scheduling, emailing, taking photos, getting directions, and a number of other uses. And while cellphones have made life easier, they have also led to a number of potential health risks. The National Cancer Institute worries that increased amounts of cellphone use may cause cancer or other health problems due to their radiofrequency emissions.
The World Health Organization also categorizes cellphones as possibly carcinogenic to humans. However, since cellular phones were not frequently used until the early 1990s, tests determining these patterns as far as cancer causation, can only be studied in a shorter period of time — thus, not giving enough data to show any sort of direct correlation. Regardless, there has still been evidence with workers who have been exposed to radiofrequency, such as U.S. Navy electronics technicians. Evidence has demonstrated that they have an increased risk of brain tumors because of exposure to radiofrequency energy exposure. Given this information, it is important to be aware or your cellphone use. Here are a few simple ways to protect yourself from harmful emissions:
1. Text, Don’t Talk: While your mother may not approve of this method at the dinner table, texting is actually a safer way to communicate when using a cellphone. When you’re texting you’re not holding your phone up to your head to communicate, so there is a decreased risk for exposure. Cellular phones also use less power and emit less radiation when they’re just used for texting.
2. Step Away from the Phone: Despite having a number of social and emotional benefits, using your cellphone less can also benefit you physically. By keeping your cellphone away from you, even by an inch, you can reduce radiation exposure. According to CNET, “Signal strength falls off as the square of the distance to the source. This means that if you double the distance to the source, which is the cell phone to your head, the signal strength would be four times less, since two squared is four.”
3. Get a Headset: Using your cellphone hands-free is better because even thought a Bluetooth does emit radiofrequency emission there is less of an exposure as opposed to holding the phone up to your ear.
4. Don’t Be a Chatty Cathy: By using your cellphone less, it is a sure-fire way to prevent any type of cellphone radiation exposure.
5. When You Don’t Have a Signal, Don’t Use Your Phone: Many consumers are not aware of this, but when your cellphone is struggling to gain a signal it works double-time. “A minute of talk time in a 'red zone,' where the radiation is likely higher because of a poor cell phone signal, is equivalent to the amount of exposure you'd get talking on the phone for three hours in a 'green zone,' where reception is good and the radiation emitted from a cell phone is much less,” said Gil Friedlander, one of the founders of Tawkon, an app designed to track phone radiation levels and exposure.