Last week the World Health Organization dropped a bombshell on us: Cellphones may cause cancer. But before you ditch your iPhones and go back to landlines, it's important to recognize that the National Cancer Institute isn't as convinced. They report that while cellphones emit radiofrequency (RF) energy, there is no specific information that links the devices to cancer. In fact, they report, “a large international study (Interphone) published in 2010 found that, overall, cellphone users have no increased risk for two of the most common types of brain tumor—glioma and meningioma."
It's hard to decipher between what's a real harm and what's not. But last week while watching Anderson Cooper's 360, Sanjay Gupta, MD, said something that really struck me. He said that there are no studies that show the long term effect of cellphones and our youth. And given that the younger generation will grow up on cellphones, it's scary to think how their lives and health can be affected by constant exposure to radiation, if cellphones can actually increase our risk of developing brain cancer.
So a good motto may be "better safe than sorry."
Here are a few tips to reduce your exposure to cellphone radiation.
Get an ear piece: A wired headset will automatically decrease your radiation exposure because the phone is away from the body. But even a headset may still transmit radiation at a very low level.
Use the speaker phone option: This is a good way to still be able to talk and create distance between you and the phone. Experts claim that every inch the phone is away from your body, the exposure to radiation is reduced. Just don't talk on the speaker in public—it can be annoying to the people around you.
Talk less: This is a no-brainer. Try texting, emailing or actually meeting and talking to someone in person if possible. Talk about old-school!
Be easy on the Bluetooth: A Bluetooth does emit less radiation, but some folks wear it all the time, which still puts you at risk for radiation. If you are not actually talking on the phone, take it out of your ear, and if you are using, switch it from ear to ear to level out the amount of exposure each side is getting.
Also the New York Daily News reported that the Environmental Working Group told them that some phones cause more radiation to be absorbed by the human body. Here are the phones they suggest to avoid:
1. Motorola Bravo (MB520) AT&T 1.59 W/kg
2. Motorola Droid 2 GlobalVerizon Wireless 1.58 W/kg
3. Palm PixiSprint 1.56 W/kg
4. Motorola Boost i335 Boost Mobile 1.55 W/kg
5. Blackberry Bold 9700 AT&T, T-Mobile 1.55 W/kg
6. Motorola i335 Sprint 1.55 W/kg
7. HTC Magic (T-Mobile myTouch 3G) T-Mobile 1.55 W/kg
(Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)