While there is no conclusive scientific evidence that establishes a causal relationship between cell phone use and cancer, cell phones do emit electromagnetic radiation and such exposure is never a good thing.

In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans as evidenced by studies that link wireless phone usage to an increased risk for brain cancer. The World Health Organization lists on their website the health effects of radiation emitted from mobile devices as well as exposure limit guidelines.

With something as precious as our health, it is better to be safe than sorry.  As Daniel Oberhausen, a French Professor and leader in cell phone safety advises, “the absence of definitive human evidence at this point in time should not be misconstrued as proof of cell phone safety.” Similarly, Dr. Ronald Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and the UPMC Cancer Center, cautions users to try to limit cell phone use. Here are some tips from the Environmental Health Trust that you can apply to your daily routine to mitigate exposure to potentially deleterious electromagnetic radiation:

1. No phone in bed

-Best to charge overnight on a bed stand at least 5 feet away from body.

-If you have to sleep with it under your pillow, put it on “airplane” or “offline” mode to temporarily abate radiation emission. When you need to check messages, you can switch back to normal mode.

2.  Texting is a good thing

-Better to communicate via text or email because you avoid greater radiation exposure associated with making calls.

3. Use speakerphone or earphones

-Best to keep phone at a maximal distance from your body and in particular, away from your head. Protect that brain!

-keep conversations short.

4. Don’t let children make calls 

-A child’s skull is thinner and more penetrable to the emissions which can damage the organ which is still developing.

5. Weak signal means don’t use

-In attempt to reestablish connection, the phone works at maximal power and electromagnetic radiation is at peak.

5. Keypad on body

-When you do keep your phone in your pocket, place the keypad facing you so that electromagnetic waves are directed away from your body.

6. Switch sides

-If you must hold the device to your head, alternate sides to avoid concentrating emission of waves to a localized part of your brain.

Antoniette Costa

First published on January 2012, Updated in 2019