You may believe that you are much healthier than the past generations of your family. You eat organic. You exercise. You don’t use bacon fat as a flavor enhancer the way your grandmother did.
Many years ago, it was possible to smoke everywhere, from airplanes to movie theatres. Although our exposure to second-hand smoke is down, we are completely not in the clear.
Our grandparents may have had some health risks that we do not, but they certainly didn’t have to grapple with cellphone radiation.
When was the last time you saw someone speak on a telephone with a cord?
Studies that have been conducted on the effect of cellphone radiation have been inconclusive, but the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified cellphone use as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
For now, no one knows for sure. Keep in mind that at one point not too long ago, smoking was advertised as “physician approved.”
Until we know for certain what can happen with long-term radiation, there are ways that we may be able to diminish possible harm.
1) Use a speaker phone.
When you are at home or puttering around, there is no need for you to be holding the radio frequency energy right up to your ear. Talk out loud. Wearing a headset may also be a useful (although unstudied) way to reduce emissions.
In any case, stepping away from your phone is a great way to put some distance between you and the non-ionizing radiation emissions associated with cellphones.
2) Text rather than talk.
This will limit how close the phone is to your body and how long you are on it (unless you are a teenager). If you want to have a longer conversation, make plans to talk on a landline or Skype at a desktop computer.
3) Minimize your exposure.
We have all seen how people react when they are without their phones, but it is possible to have phone-free moments without feeling panicky.
Your relationship with your phone can be an unconscious habit. Taking even a small break can help you to connect to the world around you.
4) Don’t wear your phone.
As cellphones get sleeker, it can be easier than ever to slip them in a pocket. When engaging in their busy lives, some women have taken to wearing their cellphones in their bras.
A 2013 study looked at young women who were diagnosed with breast cancer without any family history. All women carried a cellphone in their bras for up to 10 hours a day for several years. All of their tumors had similar characteristics.
The study suggested that there is a lack of evidence regarding prolonged direct contact with the phone. Until we know for sure, it is easy enough to slip your Smartphone into your purse.
5) Let your technology rest.
Phones continue to emit radiation even when you are not making calls. If you must leave your phone on, turn the volume up and leave the phone in another room so that it is not close to your head or your body.
Consider investing in an alarm clock so that you and your technology have the same bedtime.
Smartphones are convenient and wonderful and keep us engaged and curious. Although there are no proven risks at present, it may be best to let our phones be an accent rather than a habit.
Reviewed June 21, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
Cell Phones and Cancer Risk. National Cancer Institute. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
Cigarettes were once ‘Physician tested’ and approved. Healio. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
Multifocal Breast Cancer in Young Women with Prolonged Contact between Their Breasts and Their Cellular Phones. Hindawi. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
Portier, Christopher J. and Leonard, Wendy L. Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer? Scientific American. Retrieved June 15, 2016.