California Publishes Guidelines for Reducing Exposure to Cell Phone Radiation

The California Department of Public Health (DPH) released guidelines in early December on how to reduce one's exposure to electromagnetic radiation emitted from cell phones. The report was published because "some laboratory experiments and human health studies have suggested the possibility that long-term, high use of cell phones may be linked to certain types of cancer and other health effects." Potential health effects from high exposure to cell phone radiation include brain cancer, tumors of the acoustic nerve and salivary glands, lower sperm count, headaches and negative effects on learning, memory, hearing, behavior and sleep.

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However, scientists disagree on the severity of the effects of cell phone radiation and the likelihood of experiencing health issues stemming from cell phone use. Studies have yet to establish definitive links between these health issues and radiofrequency (RF) energy - the type of radiation emitted by cell phones. The DPH report acknowledges this uncertainty.

According to the guidelines, some of the steps one can take to reduce their exposure to RF energy include:

  • Keeping cell phones away from your body when they are not in use;
  • Using headsets while talking on the phone instead of holding the phone to your head;
  • Limiting cell phone use when the cell signal is weak;
  • Avoiding "radiation shields," which make your phone work harder to stay connected;

Overall, experts agree that more time and research are necessary to understand the links between long-term cell phone use and consumer health. Read more here.