As smartphone use continues to increase in the U.S., especially among children, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recently issued guidance for individuals and families who want to decrease their exposure to the radio frequency energy emitted from cell phones. Research suggests long-term, high use may impact human health.
Despite California’s warnings, there are other scientific studies that do not reach the same conclusions that the state of California has. Nonetheless, exercising caution when dealing with potentially carcinogenic radiation is both wise and prudent, especially if you have children who use these devices, since they are more susceptible to the harmful effects of close range radiation exposure over time. Even if you ignore the warnings and guidelines issued by the state of California, it’s worth noting that Apple (and other smartphone manufacturers) have their own clear and concise warnings and cautions when it comes to usage of their devices.
According to cell phone manufacturers, cell phone radiation isn’t safe when you carry them in your pocket or hold them up against your head, or allowing your children hold it against their less developed heads. And yet, most of us persist, as if oblivious to the manufacture’s own warnings.
“Although the science is still evolving, there are concerns among some public health professionals and members of the public regarding long-term, high use exposure to the energy emitted by cell phones,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “We know that simple steps, such as not keeping your phone in your pocket and moving it away from your bed at night, can help reduce exposure for both children and adults.”
Cell phones emit radio frequency energy when they send and receive signals to and from cell towers, and some scientists and public health officials believe this energy may impact human health.
Meanwhile, cell phone use in the U.S. has increased dramatically in recent years. About 95 percent of Americans own a cell phone, and 12 percent rely on their smartphones for everyday Internet access. In addition, the average age when children get their first phone is now just 10 years old, and a majority of young people keep their phones on or near them most of the day and while they sleep.
“Children’s brains develop through the teenage years and may be more affected by cell phone use,” said Dr. Smith. “Parents should consider reducing the time their children use cell phones and encourage them to turn the devices off at night.”
The new CDPH guidance includes practical steps both adults and children could take to reduce exposure to radio frequency energy from cell phones. That includes:
Keeping the phone away from the body
Reducing cell phone use when the signal is weak
Reducing the use of cell phones to stream audio or video, or to download or upload large files
Keeping the phone away from the bed at night
Removing headsets when not on a call
Avoiding products that claim to block radio frequency energy. These products may actually increase your exposure.
When all is said and done, it’s up to each of us to decide how we choose to use our technology, I’ll choose to listen to the science and words of warning coming out of California, and error on the side of caution.