Keep Your Smartphone at Arms Length, Health Officials Warn

By Jane Gray

Californian health officials have released new guidelines on how to limit cell phone radiation, including not carrying your phone in your pocket or sleeping with it in your bed.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued the warning amid growing concerns that cell phone use could be linked to brain cancer, headaches, mental health issues, and infertility.

According to the department, about 95 percent of Americans own a cell phone.

“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 in a statement.

While the CDPH admits that the “science is still evolving” it has provided comprehensive tips for the public on how to reduce cell phone radiation.

The statewide notice from the CDPH is likely to be a particular concern to parents who may not be regulating their children’s cell phone use. On average, a child starts using their first phone from the age of 10, according to the CDPH.

“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.”

Other sources of RF energy include cell phone towers, TV and radio transmitters, smart meters, and microwave ovens, according to the CDPH. The signals are a form of electromagnetic radiation, and are also emitted when using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, but at lower levels.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration website has guidance on reducing RF exposure for children and teenagers, and recommends using a hands-free set or speaker mode when using your cell phone.

The statewide notice from California comes less than a week after France banned cell phones from schools, in a move that Education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer described as a “public health message to families,” according to RTL.

“It’s good that children are not too often, or even at all, in front of a screen before the age of seven,” he said.

Practical tips to reduce cell phone radiation from the CDPH include:
-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.

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