Cell Phone Safety List

Dear Health Conscious Reader,

When I was hiking through the Andes, I saw people chatting on their cell phones. In Kerala, India, I saw fishermen call into shore  their boats to negotiate a price for the day’s catch. They even send pictures!

Cell phones are ubiquitous. Especially in the third world, they give people that wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it access to the internet. And in that way, the cell phone is one of the greatest inventions of our time.

But I’m conflicted about the health consequence.

A new study from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) warns that many of the new internet phones bombard your brain with dangerous electromagnetic waves.1

These waves penetrate your skull and can double your risk of a brain tumor.2

Back in 2003, the Food and Drug Administration assured us that cell phones do not cause brain cancer. Unfortunately, they based their study on only three years of cell phone use.

But if you use a cell phone for a decade or more, your risk goes up. Researchers in Scandinavia and the United Kingdom discovered that people who used cell phones for more than 10 years had a significantly higher risk of developing brain tumors.3

Even more alarming is what happens to kids that use cell phones.

Young skulls are less than half the thickness of adults, making it much easier for radio waves to penetrate and damage the brain. Multiple studies show young children absorb more radiation than adults do, putting them at high risk for brain tumors.4

A two-minute call can alter the natural electrical activity in your child’s brain for one hour. Multiply this by the average 2,600 minutes a month your child is on the phone…and you get 22 hours (nearly a day) of unnatural brain activity.

Wireless earpieces and keeping the phone in your pocket are not good options. The earpiece relies on radio waves for transmission – these go into your brain. The phone in your pocket is emitting radio waves straight to your vital organs, especially your genitals.

So what should you do? I for one don’t want to give up my cell phone. And I don’t suggest you give up yours either. But I do take certain steps to limit my radiation exposure.

Here’s are some steps you can take:

  • Check what kind of radiation your phone emits. The lower, the better. EWG has an updated list of the best and the worst phones.
  • Put your phone in “airplane” mode when you”re in places you can’t (or shouldn’t) use your phone – driving, theaters, meetings, and doctor’s offices. This reduces the number of radiation exposure hours.
  • Go “hands-free”. The further away your phone is from your body – the less radiation penetrates you. Twelve inches (one foot) is the closest you should be to your phone.
  • Use a wired head set for all calls – make sure the cord is long enough so your phone is at least twelve inches away from you.
  • Send text messages instead of calling. Or keep your calls short.
  • And possibly the hardest advice of all to implement… limit use of cell phones by your children and teens. I tell my son Dylan to text instead of call. This limits his exposure.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

  1. Cell Phone Radiation – Science Review on Cancer Risks and Children’s Health – Environmental Working Group http://www.ewg.org/cellphone-radiation
  2. Khurana VG, Teo C, Kundi M, Hardell L, Carlberg M. “Cell phones and brain tumors: a review including the long-term epidemiologic data.” Surg Neurol. 2009 Sep;72(3):205-14
  3. International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) 2008; Lahkola 2007
  4. deSalles 2006; Gandhi 1996; Kang 2002; Martinez-Burdalo 2004; Wang 2003; Wiart 2008