You never leave home without it. You might even be holding it right now: your cell phone.
But could this essential device be harming your health?
A new study from the federal National Toxicology Program reveals troubling evidence that cell phone radiation could cause brain cancer. Scientists exposed rats to radio-frequency radiation at levels similar to and higher than those emitted by cell phones. Compared to unexposed rats, the exposed male animals showed a greater likelihood of developing malignant glioma, a type of brain cancer, as well as tumors on the heart.
Although the 10-year, $25 million study tested radiation effects on rats, it offers valuable insight into the potential risk to people, a concern that both health experts and cell phone users have raised for years.
EWG issued reports in 2009 and 2013 describing the possible health risks of cell phone and wireless radiation, including an increased risk of two types of brain cancer. In 2011 the World Health Organization’s classified cell phone radiation as a possible carcinogen.
More than five countries have warned people to cut back on cell phone radiation exposure, particularly for kids, whose brains may absorb double the amount of radiation as adults. While research continues, here are some of EWG’s top tips for reducing your family’s exposure to cell phone radiation:
Limit children’s use of cell phones
- Choose a landline for everyday calls.
- Don’t offer the phone as a toy while on the go or running errands.
- If your kids use your phone to play games, switch on airplane mode.
Keep your distance
- Use a headset or speaker while talking on the phone, rather than holding it directly to your ear.
- While on a call, keep the phone away from your body – say, on a table in front of you, instead of your pocket.
- Store your phone away from your body, not under your pillow or clipped on your belt.
Choose a good case
Some cell phone cases may minimize radiation exposure, while others force the phone to work harder and emit more radiation. Click here to learn more about how to choose the best cell phone case.
Text when possible
Texting emits less radiation than voice calls.
Seek a strong signal
Radiation levels are significantly higher when your signal is poor.
To learn more, visit EWG’s Guide to Safer Cell Phone Use.