Cell Phone Green - Our Daily Green

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cell Phone Green


Cell phone dangersOne of the most requested items from kids on holiday lists this past season was some sort of cell phone or smart phone device. Aside from the obvious risks associated with cell phone use and driving, cell phones may not be particularly safe for our health.

While most folks are aware of the dangers associated with radiation emitted from microwave ovens, for example, they don't necessarily realize that is the same kind of radiation that cell phones use for signals.

While the 2008 graphic from Harris Interactive, indicates "I'd Die Without My Phone" the bitter irony is that without careful use, cell phones may actually hasten death. Initially, warnings about radiation from cell phones were dismissed as "not proven" but after a 10 year testing period, the evidence is overwhelming.

cancer from cell phones
Similar to the reasons we wear lead vests for x-rays, cell phone radiation is constant. If the phone is in a pocket or next to the body, we are absorbing radiation. While the radiation from x-rays is ionizing (meaning they contain enough electromagnetic energy to strip atoms and molecules from the tissue and alter chemical reactions in the body) cell phones are the safer non-ionizing (meaning they are typically safe. Non-ionizing causes some heating effect, but usually not enough to cause any type of long-term damage to tissue). The concern is the increasing lengths of constant exposure as well as the ambiguous word "usually". 

The concern is strong enough that the American Cancer Society has published a warning about cell phone usage.  In the latest issue of Green American, an extensive interview with Dr. Devra Davis, author of Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family, reiterates the same concerns. 

Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your FamilyOur Daily Green is not given to alarmist theory nor do we advocate throwing out all cell phones. Instead, we want to share some of more safe ways to use our cell phones, to minimize our exposure to a type of radiation we typically use without much concern. When we consider the amount of time we spend on cell phones, a few precautions are in order. 

Victoria Kreha, responsible shopper coordinator & associate editor for Green America, offers 11 ways to protect yourself and your family: 

  •  Use hands free or speaker phone setting
  •  Keep the phone off your body
  •  Text instead of talking
  •  Turn it off when not using
  •  Replace cordless phones with corded
  •  Use a low radiation cell phone 
  •  Keep your cell, cordless or wireless modem away from your head
  •  Keep your phone fully charged (when the signal is weak, it has to work harder to find one)
  •  Be wary of devices that claim to block exposure 
  •  Don't give cell phones to young children as toys or pacifiers
  •  Take care with older children
Other nations have banned or restricted cell phone usage for children, including, India, Israel, Russia, France, Japan, UK and Germany. These bans are to keep our children safe. With growing documentation of the risks, precautions seem like a reasonable measure as cell phones proliferate and grow in popularity.


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