How to Go Green With Silv: Cell Phone Radiation by Silvia Milanova, June 17 2016, 0 Comments

Cell Phone Radiation

Copyright: lassedesignen / 123RF Stock Photo

Looks like our constant pocket companions are under scrutiny once more. Cell phones and cancer—words you don’t want to hear in the same sentence considering how attached we are to our devices. But these are words that once more have data backing up claims of a connection between the two.

A new study by the National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institute for Health (NIH), connects the radiation emitted by cell phones to brain cancer. These results mirror earlier reports by The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer that identified cell phone radiation as a possible carcinogen. The new research, which used male rats as study participants, aimed to determine the potential risk to humans when exposed to radio-frequency (RF) radiation. The exposure levels of radiation used during the research were compliant with levels that current cell phones are legally allowed to emit.

Here is what you need to know about the results and what you can do to limit your exposure.

    Results:
      • Male rats exposed to RF radiation had a greater chance of being diagnosed with a brain cancer called malignant glioma—a tumor that is “essentially incurable” according to the NIH. These results were compared to a control group of rats that were not exposed to radiation.
      • The rats also were more likely to develop a tumor found on the heart.

      “By confirming the connection between cell phone radiation and malignant tumors in male rats, the NTP’s study raises concerns for risks to people to a new level,” said David Andrews, PhD, a senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The EWG has also spearheaded research in 2009 and 2013 that respectively highlighted the potential health risks to humans—two types of brain tumors including glioma—from usage of cell phones and wireless devices.

      However, before you go and throw your cell in the trash (yeah right! Come on, who are we kidding, here??), know that with any study, there are limitations and unanswered questions. Rats also don’t have identical physiologies to humans, which questions the real-life applicability of the research.

      Nevertheless, if you’re worried about unnecessary exposure to cell phone radiation, the EWG has come up with a handy guide on lowering your exposure and in essence your risk of health hazards.

      Here are some tips to get you started:

      • Use a headset or speaker.  This can significantly lower your body’s and head’s exposure to radiation.
      • Speak less, text more. Phones emit less radiation during texting than during voice communications.
      • Store away from body. When in use, don’t put your phone in your pocket, flat against the body. Instead, place the phone as far away from your body as possible—example, on the backseat of your car or in the corner of your desk—or if necessary, in your purse, not pocket. When not in use, either turn off your phone or put it on airplane mode, and leave it again, as far away from you as possible—not next to your head and certainly not under your pillow.
      Warning: the EWG states that when a phone is on and not in use, it still sends out an intermittent signal to connect with nearby cell phone towers, which means radiation exposure still occurs.
      • Look for a strong signal. Make calls only when you have a strong signal so your phone doesn’t have to work harder to get or maintain a signal. The harder your cell works, the more you’re exposed to radiation.
      • Require stronger regulation. Urge the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to create stricter regulations on cell phone radiation and legal exposure limits.
      One more thing to note: research has found that phone cases may increase the radiation that strikes a user’s head and body, weaken the signal, deplete a phone’s battery sooner and cause dropped calls, according to the EWG. This is because some cases partially block a phone’s antenna and as a result make the phone work harder to transfer a signal. So choose your cases wisely.