Study advises extra precaution when using a cell phone in a weak signal area

Researchers at the California Department of Health say using cell phones in areas with weak reception can result in microwave radiation emissions that are 10,000 times higher than in areas with strong reception.

The study, made public this week, is being published in the journal Environmental Research, and it suggests consumers should take extra precautions when they see only one or two “bars” of reception on their mobile phones. The authors state that “precautionary use of cell phones could lessen a user’s radiofrequency EMF exposure by a factor of up to 10,000.”

The cell phone radiation exposure study  in conjunction with Joel Moskowitz’s successful Public Records Act lawsuit played key roles in the California Department of Public Health’s decision to publish its landmark cell phone safety guidance document, “How to Reduce Exposure to Radiofrequency Energy from Cell Phones,” in December, 2017.

Real World Cellular Phone Radio-Frequency Electromagnetic Field Exposure

The paper concludes with “straightforward” recommendations that the public avoid using cell phones when signals are weak, and also recommends that people should limit overall cell phone exposure by using speakerphone, choosing texting rather than voice calls and distancing the phone away from the body, even in areas with strong network signals.

Microwave exposures depend not only on the distance from the user that phones are held but also the strength of the signal.
Recent studies indicate that the RF EMF [radiofrequency electromagnetic field] exposures from cellular phones can have a negative impact on animal cells and cognitive and/or behavior development in children.
Case-controlled epidemiologic studies have found evidence for increased risk for glioma and localization of the glioma associated with the consistent exposure site of regular mobile phone use.
Recent research indicates that equivalent exposures result in proportionally higher cell phone radiation deposition into children when compared to adults.
Even though texting increases the distance between the brain and the cell phone, phones are still held close to the body for hours a day. This can create a different exposure that “may cause unknown effects to other organ systems.”
The public should follow the CDPH cell phone radiation guidance which tells all persons not to keep phones in the pocket and also includes other practical steps to reduce exposure to radiofrequency radiation.
The study was funded by the California Department of Health when the Department was developing advice to the public about why and how to reduce microwave exposures and was considering listing cell phone radiation as a suspected cause of cancer under Proposition 65, the state’s advisory list of suspected cancer causes.
California State initially began drafting recommendations on how state workers should reduce cell phone exposure in 2009, and over the years the information was edited into a document for the public rather than workers. A lawsuit by the Environmental Law Clinic of Berkeley Law School [and the First Amendment Project (Moskowitz vs. California Department of Public Health)] resulted in the release of more than 100 pages of CDPH drafts of cell phone guidance, and the final CDPH guidance was finally released to the public soon afterwards in December 2017.
Image credit: Aaron Lau

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