Cell Phones and Your Health

cell_phoneHow did we ever live without them? A staggering 95 percent of Americans now own cell phones and many of us always have our trusty phone within arms reach. But one of our neighboring states is now warning people about the possible health risks associated with our cell phones. Is there a cause for concern?

From Newsweek.com:

The California Department of Public Health released new guidelines Wednesday with suggestions about how to lower exposure to cellphone radiation. The guidelines, in general, suggest keeping cellphones at a distance—whether you’re using them or not. However, many are criticizing the guidelines’ release, noting that there is very little evidence to support the idea that cellphones might cause problems for human health.

Specifically, the guidelines suggest “keeping the phone away from the body,” “reducing the use of cell phones to stream audio or video, or to download or upload large files,” and “keeping the phone away from the bed at night. (The FDA has also made similar suggestions in the past.)

Forbes.com listed California’s guidelines which you can find below.

  • Keep the phone away from the body whenever possible. Carry it in a purse or briefcase instead of a pocket or bra
  • Reduce cell phone use when the signal is weak (i.e., the phone shows only one or two bars), or if you’re in a fast-moving car or bus, since phones put off more radio frequency energy at those times
  • Reduce the use of cell phones to stream audio or video, or to download or upload large files
  • Keep the phone away from your bed at night, especially away from your head
  • Remove headsets when you’re not on a call
  • Avoid products that claim to block radio frequency energy. These products may actually increase your exposure.

The big question is, of course, are our cell phones dangerous? Gizmodo.com wrote, “There’s still the larger question of who to believe about cellphones. The World Health Organization has categorized radio frequency energy as a Class 2B environmental agent, meaning it might be “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration’s official stance is “that the weight of scientific evidence does not show an association between exposure to radio frequency from cellphones and adverse health outcomes.” And even throws shade at the WHO by pointing out that coffee, power lines, and talc powder are also Class 2B agents. For now, it’s fair to say there hasn’t been a smoking gun piece of research tying cellphones to brain cancer.”

So, why is California issuing guidelines on cell phone usage if there is no specific data that points out it is dangerous? CBS News quoted Dr. Karen Smith of the California Department of Public Health as saying:

“We recognize that there are a lot of people in the general public that have some concerns about their cellphones and whether using a cellphone is safe”

So does the release of the new guidelines mean that the state believes cellphones are dangerous?

“Not at all,” said Smith. “Our position is that the science is evolving.”

The state said one of the main reasons they’ve decided to release these guidelines now is that there are new numbers out showing that cellphone use is higher than ever, with 95 percent of Americans using them on a regular basis.

Share your thoughts on California’s decision to release these guidelines. Do you believe it is a wise warning or do you think it will cause undue concern? Either way, we’d love to get your opinion. Generating meaningful conversations around the health issues making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!




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