The jury is still out on exactly how much cell phone radiation is affecting our bodies (including cancer, changes in brain activity, and other possible health concerns), but I have read enough information to want to significantly decrease my exposure so as to err on the side of caution. For today, if nothing else, it will not be housed in my pocket where it is flush to my body. A few extra centimeters, even millimeters, that it is kept away from you can make a big difference.
The number that is measured is specific absorption rate, or SAR level. SAR is the rate at which your body absorbs energy from radio-frequency (RF) magnetic field. All cell phone models sold in the US are required by the FCC to be certified to be less than 1.6 watts per kilogram. However, this rate is achieved by testing at certain guideline distances from your body, and may not be accurate to real-life scenarios such as having the phone flush against your body.
Below are some suggestions to lower your exposure to cell phone radiation. A number of them are from About.com (noted in BOLD), as well as a few others that I noted:
Keep Your Distance—The intensity of cell phone radiation diminishes quickly as your distance from your cell phone increases, and every millimeter counts. You can protect yourself from the effects of cell phone radiation by holding your cell phone away from your body and:
- Using a wired headset
- Putting your cell phone on speaker mode
- Using a wireless Bluetooth headset or earpiece, which emit radiation at far lower levels than cell phones
- Carry your cell phone away from your body—in a purse, briefcase or computer bag—not in your pocket where it is pressed up against you.
Try Texting, Not Talking—When you send a text message from your cell phone, you hold your phone away from your body, and far away from your head, which reduces your exposure to radiation.
Find a Strong Signal and Stay Put–When your cell phone has a weak signal, it has to work harder to transmit and receive, and that equals higher bursts of radiation. You face the same problem when you are moving quickly—riding in a car, bus or train, for example—because your cell phone is forced to repeatedly emit new bursts of radiation as it connects to different cell towers along your route.
Wait to Speak and Listen–Most cell phones emit the most radiation when they first connect with the cell tower. One way to reduce your exposure to cell-phone radiation is to wait until your call has been connected before you put the phone to your ear.
Use the Toggle Method–Because cell phones emit significantly more radiation when they are transmitting signals than when they are receiving, you can reduce your radiation exposure by holding the phone away from your ear when you are talking and only bringing it close to listen. Using a headset or speaker mode is still the better option, but the toggle method can cut the amount of radiation your brain and body absorbs
Keep conversations short, obviously, the less you are on the phone, the less exposure.
As well, turn your cell phone off when you are not using it, especially at night if it is anywhere near you.
On an added note, be aware of potential risks of cell phone radiation on children if you are letting them use your mobile phone. While I will not delve into this on this post, you may want to strongly consider keeping your kids away from your cell phone. There have been a number of health concerns over the effects of cell phone radiation and children (though not necessarily fully known as of yet), as experts believe they would likely be more affected than adults with their skulls being thinner, their brains still developing, and the expanded time they will be exposed.