Collectively, Americans spend more than 6 billion minutes a day glued to their cell phones. But new science suggests a link between heavy cell phone use (30 minutes or more a day) and an increased risk of a type of brain cancer. And now a brand-new study from the National Institutes of Health reports that the electromagnetic radiation that’s given off by a cell phone antenna triggers an increase of brain glucose in the area of the head that’s closest to where the cell phone is held.
The health effects, if any, remain unknown. But if you want to minimize your exposure until all the evidence is in, follow these proven safety tips from Devra Lee Davis, PhD, an epidemiologist and author of the book Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation.
1. Try to avoid direct contact with your cell phone during calls.
Use the speaker-phone setting or wired hands-free device. Although wireless Bluetooth devices do reduce radiation, they don’t eliminate it.
2. Follow the bars.
Radiation exposure increases when a cell phone’s signal is weak or when you’re traveling in a fast-moving car or train. That’s because the phone needs to constantly reconnect to new towers. Wait till you have three or more bars showing before you make your call.
3. Tell your kids to text.
Because their skulls are thinner than adults’, children absorb radiation at a higher rate when they hold a phone to their ear.
4. Save the long chats for a noncordless landline or an Internet phone system, like Skype.
And when you’re on the go, let your fingers do the talking and send a text instead.