Back in March, state officials from the California Department of Public Health made a previously hidden draft document accessible to the public.
The document titled "Cell Phones and Health" was an advisory about the dangers of cellphone radiation exposure and ways to reduce its effects. The two-page draft was then ordered to be released by a judge due to a 2016 lawsuit filed by a director at the University of California.
Fear of cellphone radiation effects on the human body is nothing new, of course, and we are constantly warned about the possible consequences of regular exposure to wireless signals.
But skeptics say that none of the studies are conclusive so far. The wireless industry agrees and it is always ready to reassure the public that there's no concrete link between cellphone exposure and health issues.
However, months after the ruling, the California Department of Public Health is now set to officially release its cellphone safety guidelines for reducing Radio Frequency energy (RF).
As cellphone use has significantly increased in the past few years, especially with children and teens, the document will provide tips and guidelines for people who have concerns about cellphone use and its health effects.
This might finally compel the public to take all these cellphone warnings seriously and take the necessary precautions.
Is your health at risk?
The California Department of Public Health document substitutes the original draft's (electromagnetic fields) EMF for Radio Frequency energy (RF) and it outlines "RF energy, lists potential health concerns, and provides guidance on how people can reduce their exposure."
Similar to the draft, the document links certain types of brain cancer and fertility problems to cellphone use. It also expands on them by citing laboratory experiments and studies that linked cellphone radiation to health issues such as:
- Brain cancer, tumors of the acoustic nerve (necessary for hearing and balance) and the salivary glands
- Lower sperm counts and inactive, less mobile sperm
- Headaches and effects on learning and memory, hearing, behavior and sleep
However, unlike the leaked draft, the official document is more tentative about establishing the direct link between cellphone use and health issues. A passage explicitly states that "scientists disagree about whether cellphones cause these health problems and how great the risks might be," implying that the links are not at all conclusive.
Frankly, compared to the draft, this softer stance all sounds like a cop out, if you ask me.
At least the document did retain the original draft's guidelines for people who want to reduce RF exposures for themselves and their families.
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How to reduce cellphone exposure
To sum it up, the document follows the same mantra of the draft - your distance from the phone, the strength of the signal, and how long and how often you use the phone determines your exposure. Basically, the farther away the cellphone is from your body, the less the exposure.
Here are the key points to ponder:
- Increase the distance between your cellphone and your body by using the speakerphone or a headset (Bluetooth headsets have weaker EMFs).
- Opt to send text messages instead of calling.
- If you're streaming or downloading files with your phone, try to keep it away from your head and body.
- Do not carry it in your pocket or directly on your body unless the phone is off.
- Take off your headset when you're not on call. In addition, I think this applies to music listening with wireless headphones too (AirPods, wireless earbuds, etc.)
- Do not to sleep with your cellphone in your bed or near your head.
When are you most at risk?
It is also recommended that you limit your cellphone use when reception is weak. Your phone's RF energy is stronger when your cellphone only shows one or two bars. If this is the case, try increasing the distance between you and the phone by using the speaker or a headset.
Here are situations when a cellphone's RF signal is the strongest:
- At the start of a call, when the phone is trying to connect to a cell tower
- As mentioned, when a cellphone only has one or two bars
- When in a moving car, bus or train (as the phone switches from one tower to another)
- When you are streaming music or movies or downloading or sending large files
Furthermore, the paper recommends keeping cellphone calls short (use the speakerphone for longer conversations) and to not rely on gadgets that claim to shield or neutralize cellphone EMFs.
Cellphone Energy and Children
The same general tips for reducing RF energy exposure outlined above are applicable to pregnant women, children and teens.
In a separate section, the documents warn that children and teens are more sensitive to RF energy since it "can pass deeper into a child's brain than an adult's" and the "brain is still developing through the teen years." It also adds that a child who uses a cellphone now will have many more years of RF energy in his or her lifetime compared to "someone who started using a cellphone as an adult."
Links between cellphone RF energy exposure and hearing loss, headaches and decreased general well-being of children and teenagers are also mentioned.
Although not stated in the new official document, the original draft suggested that parents limit their children's cellphone use to "texting, important calls, and emergencies" only.
What do you think?
Are you going to follow these recommendations for lowering exposure to your cellphone's RF energy? Drop us a comment!
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