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How to Protect Yourself from Cell Phone Radiation

How You Use Your Cell Phone Can Lower Your Exposure to Cell Phone Radiation


Business people texting on cell phones
Compassionate Eye/Foundation/Justin Pumfrey/Iconica/Getty Images

Some studies have indicated a link between cell-phone radiation and cancer, lower bone density, infertility in men, and changes in brain activity—the latter after less than an hour of exposure. Other studies have shown no adverse health effects associated with cell-phone use, but many researchers believe those results will change after enough time passes for future studies to show the long-term effects of ubiquitous cell-phone use by a significant number of people.

Despite the mixed research results, many people are increasingly concerned about the possible health effects of frequent, long-term exposure to cell-phone radiation.

How Our Bodies Absorb Cell Phone Radiation
Different cell-phone models emit different amounts of radiation, so one way to reduce your exposure is to purchase a cell phone with a lower SAR (specific absorption rate), a number that indicates how much radiation is absorbed by the human body when the handset is being used at maximum power. The Environmental Working Group has compiled a list of SAR values for most cell phones.

SAR values are useful, but they are bound to increase as cell phones become more powerful and add new features and applications. How you use your cell phone is a much better way to control your exposure to cell-phone radiation.

Lower Your Exposure to Cell Phone Radiation
The following tips will help you protect yourself from cell phone radiation by enabling you to use your phone in ways that lower your radiation exposure.

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.

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