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Cell Phone Radiation Series - Part 2: 8 Ways to Reduce Your Exposure

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Research has not yet established whether cell phone radiation is harmful. But. Some studies are troubling enough that we recommend reducing your exposure by buying a low-radiation phone or making some simple changes in the way you use your phone.

If you're one of those people who like to understand the "why" of it all, you'll appreciate the first post in this series where we explain the science of cell-phone radiation exposure.

No need to panic and ditch your phone (we at EWG certainly aren't giving up ours). Here's how to protect your health and stay in touch.

  1. USE A HEADSET OR SPEAKER

    Headsets emit much less radiation than phones. Experts are split on whether wired or wireless headsets are safer. (Check out the EWG website for a guide to headsets). Some wireless headsets emit continuous low-level radiation, so take yours off when you're not on a call. Using your phone in speaker mode also reduces radiation to the head.

  2. LISTEN
    Your phone emits the most radiation when you talk or text but much less when you're receiving messages. Listening more and talking less reduces your exposures.
  3. TEXT
    Phones use less power (which means less radiation) to send text instead of voice. Also, texting keeps the phone -- the radiation source -- away from your head.
  4. PHONE AT ARM'S LENGTH
    Hold the phone away from your torso when you're talking with headset or speaker, not against your ear, in a pocket, or on your belt, where soft body tissues absorb radiation.
  5. BUY A LOW-RADIATION PHONE
    Not all phones are created equal: Look up your phone on EWG's buyer's guide. (Your phone's model number may be printed under your battery.) If you're in the market for a new phone, find one that emits the lowest radiation possible and still meets your needs.
  6. WEAK SIGNAL? STAY OFF THE PHONE
    Fewer signal bars mean the phone has to step up its emissions to contact the tower. Call when your phone has a strong signal.
  7. SKIP "RADIATION SHIELDS"
    Radiation shields such as antenna caps or keypad covers reduce the connection quality and force the phone to transmit at a higher power with higher radiation.
  8. LIMIT CHILDREN'S PHONE USE
    Young children's brains absorb twice as much cell phone radiation as those of adults. EWG joins health agencies in at least 6 countries in recommending limiting children's phone use, such as for emergencies only.

To look up the radiation level of your phone, find a headset or read our research, visit EWG's cell phone report.

Next in our series: Government (in)action on cell phones and what you can do about it.

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