Cell phones and mobile gadgets outnumber human beings on our planet. They connect us with our loved ones with the tap of a finger, bring to light that word on the tip of our tongue, remind us to drink water, wake us up, give us work-out routines, warn us of inclement weather, lock our house and turn off the lights, take and make payments, and so much more.
They help us in so many ways, but is there a dark and harmful side to these beloved devices? A long-term study conducted in Sweden and published in 2015 indicates that there just may be.
The Swedish research group found a link between cell phone use and increased risk of the most deadly and aggressive type of brain tumors—glioblastomas. (1)
You have been warned, if you read the fine print. Even the Apple IPhone legal page includes this disclaimer, “To reduce exposure to RF energy, use a hands-free option, such as the built-in speakerphone, the supplied headphones, or other similar accessories.” (2)
A 2016 article in Scientific American cited numerous studies linking cell phone use to brain cancer. One 2-year study by the National Toxicology Program found that the radio frequencies (RFs) and electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) from cell phones increased the risk of malignant glioblastomas, brain cancers and neuromas in rats and mice. (3)
In humans, the results were similar. Not all studies reveal a link between cell phone use and brain cancer, but the more recent studies do. Studies conducted before 2010 did not show a link, but the studies conducted after 2010 did. (3)
According to the Scientific American article, “Three case-control studies conducted since 2010 have all been positive (an increase in gliomas were found) in the highest exposure groups. Two studies found that the tumors occurred on the same side as phone use.” (3)
While the authors of the article concluded that cell phone EMF and RF exposure is a cause of brain cancer, it is greatly dependent on the amount of exposure one gets.
With cell phone use, exposure decreases exponentially with distance. This means that if you double the distance between your head and the phone, exposure is 4 times less. If you put it on the table, or about 50 times the usual distance from your head, the exposure would be 2500 times less. Accordingly, using a headset or the speakerphone with the phone on the table would yield a huge reduction in exposure. (3)
Here are my top 10 suggestions to lower your risk of potentially dangerous EMF and RF exposure:
1. Turn off location services on your phone when not using GPS.
2. Turn off the cell phone off at night.
3. Turn the phone to airplane mode whenever possible during the day.
4. Do not carry the phone in your pocket or on your body. Carry it in a bag.
5. ALWAYS use the speakerphone or a headset when talking on the phone.
6. NEVER hold the phone to your head.
7. NEVER sleep with your phone on.
8. Turn the Wi-Fi off in your house at night, or use ethernet for your computing devices and avoid buying more Wi-Fi-driven devices.
9. Exposure is greater in poor reception areas, so wait until you have good reception before attempting another call.
10. When using a laptop or tablet, put it on a table, not your lap. There are special pads that can go under the laptop, but they haven’t been around long enough to know if they really work to prevent exposure to the lap area.