According to the CTIA, in 2011, there were 315.9 million wireless subscribers in the U.S. using more than 2.2 trillion minutes and 2.3 trillion text messages. There are 7 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide. The U.S. wireless industry is a $195.5 billion dollar enterprise.
With that much money on the line, you’d have a hard time finding evidence in the U.S. that wireless technology could pose a threat to our health. However, there are over 6,000 independent studies showing biological impact from cell phones and wireless products.
Wireless Use Around the World…
Numerous countries around the globe are warning against wireless safety and wireless product use in the classroom. Italy even launched a huge ad campaign urging women not to wear their cell phone on their person (like within their bra) because of multiple cases of breast cancer localized to where they were keeping their phones.
What the Scientists are Saying…
Cell phones, cordless phones, wireless laptops, tablets, smart meters, cell towers, pagers, Wi-Fi and even baby monitors function by using different radiofrequencies at the microwave level (using high frequency and low power). This radiofrequency radiation is nonionizing radiation.
Some scientists point to research indicating biological changes in DNA, leakage in the blood brain barrier, and other reported health effects from exposure to radiofrequency radiation. These scientists are calling for biologically-based safety standards for wireless technology.
There’s even research from the World Health Organization showing a close link between wireless devices and cancer, particularly in young adults and children. Children’s skulls are thinner and more porous and the radiation goes all across the brain.
Arrow in the left image shows the location in the orbitofrontal cortex in one subject where glucose metabolism was increased during cell phone use. Red and orange areas shows higher brain metabolic activity. On the right is a baseline image with the cell phone turned off, showing lower activity. Brookhaven National Laboratory
I spoke with Desiree Jaworksi of the Center For Safer Wireless, which is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that is dedicated to educating individuals about the potential health effects of wireless products. She shared some safety measures to take when using your cell phone.
Ways to reduce your risk:
- Minimize the time spent talking on a cell phone.
- Use an air tube headset (different than a bluetooth) when talking.
- Use the speakerphone whenever possible.
- Text information instead of making a special call.
- When not in use, keep your phone away from your body in a purse or bag.
- Keep your cell phone on airplane mode, or better yet, out of the bedroom at night.
- Allow older children to text and only speak on the phone in an emergency.
- Don’t talk on a cell phone in a car, bus or train. Higher levels of radiofrequency radiation are required by the cell phone as it moves from and locks on one base station to the next antenna in your cell phone network. Learn more here.
- Avoid wearing metal-rimmed glasses when speaking on a cell phone. Metal attracts radiofrequency radiation that can be absorbed by the eye.
- Keep cell phones and tablets that are connected to a wireless network away from small children.
- Don’t text and drive.
- Don’t talk on your cell phone when it has weak signal strength (like in an elevator, rural area or building).
This technology is here to stay and will only become more powerful and advanced in the future. I watched a news segment this weekend sharing the latest gadget known as a Smart Watch – a wearable device that has the same functions as a cell phone.
Until we have irrefutable evidence that states that there is no risk in using wireless technology, we should follow some simple safety guidelines concerning their use. Currently, there are indications of possible adverse effects, though they remain uncertain, the risks from doing nothing are far greater than the risks of taking action to control exposure.